Who we are

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.

A sandy beach with a row of wooden poles leading down to the sea

About us

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, their parents and families as well as 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

Our primary focus is to engage with vulnerable, targeted groups of young people who typically do not have access to mainstream services.

This includes young people who are excluded from these services or are in specialized placements, such as educational institutions or secure units.

We develop and implement personalised educational plans for local schools, covering topics like drugs, alcohol, and mental health.

These programs are delivered over a six-week period, and students receive an AQA certificate in Alcohol Awareness upon completion.

In addition, we have a history of organizing a volunteer program for young individuals to represent Y-SMART at public events.

These volunteers receive training to provide information about drugs and alcohol to a wider audience. They have participated in various events, including publicity events, college open days, and local festivals.

Furthermore, we ensure that a young person representative is included in our interview panels.

three young people working together at a desk, with a notepad and pens between them

One-to-one intervention

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

Young people who are assessed as having either experimented with substances on a one-off basis or as having used a substance occasionally will be placed at what is known as ‘tier 2’.

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.

Young people who are using substances to a degree where it is having a negative impact in other areas; such as family life, home, school or peer groups are placed at what is known as ‘tier 3’. 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, we will work alongside education providers in order to get young people back into school or college.

The support we offer

We can offer counselling, motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioural therapy, 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 who have a physical dependence.