T: (01392) 385637 | E: y-smart@devon.gov.uk


Y-SMART is a drug and alcohol service for young people covering the whole of Devon (excluding  Plymouth and Torbay). We have three offices to see young people and their families located in, Barnstaple, Exeter and Newton Abbot.

We are a multi-disciplinary team, working with young people of all ages, until their 18th birthday (and occasionally beyond – depending on circumstances).  We take referrals from young people themselves; parents and families; schools, Social Services; Youth Offending Teams; GPs and hospitals; Youth Workers; the voluntary sector; adult mental health services; adult drug treatment services and CAMHS – to name but a few.

Wherever possible, we provide a confidential service and adhere to DCC Safeguarding Policies and Procedures. We provide assessments and planned packages of care in agreement with the young person.  Much of our work is on a statutory basis with young people who have been referred to us through Youth Offending Teams, and our involvement often forms part of their Order.  We work and liaise with all agencies and are regularly involved in the Early Help and child protection systems.

Education and Training

At Y-SMART we are committed to providing good quality, up-to-date information to young people and professionals alike.  As part of our core business we are required to work with vulnerable, targeted groups of young people who would not normally access mainstream services, and also those who are excluded from those services, or who are residing in specialist placements, such as educational establishments or secure units.

We create and deliver individually tailored teaching plans for local schools, which are designed to provide education around drugs and alcohol and also include information on mental health. These programmes are delivered over a six-week period and, on completion, all students gain an AQA certificate in Alcohol Awareness.

Historically, we have also run a volunteer programme for young people, who have attended public events. These young people were trained to represent Y-SMART in order to provide information about drugs and alcohol to the wider audience.  In the past they have been involved in publicity events, college open days and local festivals. We also have a young person representative on our interview panels.

One-to-one Intervention

Once we have received a referral, the Y-SMART Practitioner should contact the young person as soon as possible in order to arrange an appointment.

Following assessment, the young person will be placed at Tier 2, Tier 3 or Tier 4, depending on their need.

Tier 2

Young people at this level are assessed as having either experimented with substances on a one-off basis, or as having used a substance occasionally. The aim of this type of intervention is to provide the young person with information around substances and also to reduce the risk of harm.

Tier 3

Young people at this level are usually using substances to a degree where it is having a negative impact in other areas; such as family life, home, school or peer groups. They could be involved in the criminal justice system or there could be issues around sexual health, housing and mental health. At this point, there is usually more joint-agency work taking place; for example, working alongside education providers in order to get young people back into school or college.

We work with families and provide support for parents who are concerned that their children may be using substances.

We can offer counselling, motivational interviewing, CBT, solution focused therapy, harm reduction advice and guidance on healthy living. We can advise on sexual health, healthy relationships and we are a C-Card centre. We frequently engage with young people who have mental health issues and often undertake joint work with CAMHS.

We can also provide pharmacological interventions, such as detoxification prescribing for young people that have a physical dependence.