Latest developments in causes and treatments



San Jose Launches First-In-The-Country Addiction Treatment Program for Teens

In San Jose, California, a new program providing addiction treatment for teens is saving lives while offering stability for teenagers in recovery. The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) in San Jose is offering “inpatient fentanyl opioid same-day detox treatment,” according to KGO-TV Channel 7.

When someone comes to the clinic experiencing a drug overdose, often from fentanyl-blended drugs, usually escorted by law enforcement, their withdrawal symptoms are managed, they are provided with suboxone or buprenorphine, which reduce the pains of withdrawal, and they are given a place to stay in the clinic. For most patients, the hospital stay is 24 to 48 hours.

A recent law in California allows teenagers 16 and older to consent to receiving withdrawal medications without the knowledge or consent of a parent or guardian. The San Jose clinic encourages family involvement, because family support is an important part of addiction recovery. “People are healthier when surrounded by the love and support of others,” says a news release about the medical center’s opioid use disorder program.

“Each of our 10 primary care clinics has at least one person who is certified to prescribe buprenorphine for opioid use disorders,” said Dr. Jack Westfall, MPH (Master of Public Health) and medical director of whole-person care at SCVMC. At the San Jose clinic, detox is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, says Dr. Lee Trope, the pediatrician who developed the new program for teens, adding:

If you’re ready to start your recovery at 2 a.m. on a Saturday, we are available for you.

The program is housed in the pediatrics unit at SCVMC. The phone number to call is 408-885-5255.

While patients are undergoing detox, usually no more than 48 hours, the San Jose clinic works to assess their needs and connect them with in-patient or outpatient programs to continue supervised recovery. They also attempt to start the patient with a primary care physician to help coordinate care and monitor progress.

The SCVMC also tries to connect overdose patients with a therapist. Services can often be provided at no cost through schools, clinics and community agencies. Behavioral Health Services as SCVMC describes their offerings:

Services are provided by licensed and pre-licensed therapists specialized in serving clients who struggle with both mental health and substance use needs. Services may include individual, family, and group counseling. Psychiatry and care coordination services are also available. Many clinical staff are bicultural and fluent in other languages.

The phone number for Behavioral Health Services at SCVMC is 1-800-704-0900. Services are provided for children and young adults aged 12-21 with substance use disorders or mental health needs. California is known for leading the country in culture; let’s see if it can lead in the comprehensive treatment of substance use disorders for America’s teens and young adults.

Written by Steve O’Keefe. First published June 18, 2024.


“Trailblazing San Jose program helps teens struggling with opioid addiction, overdoses,” KGO-TV Channel 7, June 12, 2024.

“Inpatient Suboxone Program for Adolescents and Young Adults,” Santa Clara Valley Healthcare YouTube Channel, April 30, 2024.

“Learn about youth substance use treatment services,” Santa Clara County Medical Center Behavioral Health Services, retrieved June 13, 2024.

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons, used under Creative Commons license.


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