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California to Open Two Native American Youth Treatment Centers


Taken June 20, 2016, of the Southern California YRTC facility, Desert Sage Youth Wellness Center.


California will soon have two drug and alcohol treatment centers for Native American youth, including one near Davis.

The centers will provide drug and alcohol treatment for 12 to 17 year olds.

Indian Health Service, the federal agency that provides health care to Native Americans, will oversee the centers. The center's staff will include teachers, psychiatrists, nurses and cultural advisors.

"Traditions in certain tribal communities are very important and so those things need to be part and parcel of any treatment that's received in any of our facilities," says Mary Smith, principal deputy director of IHS.

In a report by the Center for Native American Youth at the Aspen Institute, 22.9 percent of youth aged 12 and older report alcohol use, 18.4 percent report binge drinking, 16 percent report substance dependence, and 12.5 percent report illicit drug use.

Indian Health Service recently completed construction on Desert Sage Youth Wellness Center in Hemet, Calif., which is the state's first treatment center for Native American youth. It will begin accepting patients later this year.

The second facility is scheduled to open in 2018 near Davis at the former site of D-Q University, a college for Native Americans that shut down in 2005.

 Native Americans

Ja'Nel Johnson

Former Health Care Reporter

Ja'Nel Johnson developed a love for journalism and health and science in high school, and decided the combination would make for an interesting and fun career.  Read Full Bio 

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