Substance Use Services

Research and treatment of complex mental illnesses and addictions.


The Substance Use Program at Providence provides a range of coordinated emergency, inpatient, community, specialized diagnostic and treatment services for people with substance use issues. Our relationships and partnerships with health authorities, governments, universities and not-for-profit organizations from across the province (and country) are critical for us to be able to successfully treat our patients.

We address the needs of city-based populations with complex health problems. Social conditions in disadvantaged neighbourhoods lead to health problems such as HIV, Hepatitis C, malnutrition and drug- and alcohol-related illnesses. About 23 per cent of St. Paul’s Hospital’s inpatient days serve a medically and socially complex population that includes HIV-positive patients, substance abuse/substance dependent patients or patients with no fixed address.

Hospital Services

Substance Use Consult Service

Substance use specialists provide general substance use assessment and treatment consultations across Providence acute care facilities with a particular emphasis on the care of injection drug users, many of whom are HIV-positive.

Emergency Psychiatry

The St. Paul’s Hospital Emergency Department sees 43 per cent of the most severe mental health emergency patients (CTAS acuity levels 1 to 2) from the Vancouver Coastal Health region. The most behaviourally disturbed patients in Vancouver are brought to St. Paul’s emergency by BC Ambulance Services and the Vancouver Police Department, as there are four secured seclusion rooms and highly trained staff for this specialized population.

Rapid Access Addiction Clinic (RAAC)

The RAAC is a short-term outpatient clinic located in St. Paul's Hospital providing consultation and stabilization for individuals with substance use disorders with a mandate to see patients within 24 to 48 hours. The RAAC provides free treatment, and accepts inter-hospital referrals, referrals from the community and self-referrals. Find out more

Road to Recovery

The Providence Road to Recovery Initiative strives to get the right support to each client at the right time, including evidence-based, long-term recovery support.

The Road to Recovery Initiative is rolling out in a phased approach over four years, starting with the opening of acute substance use withdrawal management and stabilization beds in 2023, with additional transitional short-stay and bed-based treatment services to come.

Intake and access is provided through VCH’s Access Central phone line for clients or providers: 1 (866) 658-1221 - Seven days a week, 9 a.m. - 7:45 p.m.

As with all our services at Providence Health Care, the Road to Recovery approach is person-centred, trauma-informed and culturally safe.

Community Services

Inner City Youth Mental Health Team

An interdisciplinary team of psychiatrists, registered psychiatric nurses, social workers and occupational therapists provide psychiatric and support services to the Inner City Youth Mental Health Program for youth aged 17 to 24 with severe mental health and substance use issues who are often homeless. This is a collaborative program between Providence, Covenant House, the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Vancouver Intensive Supervision Unit. The goal of the program is to decrease hospital emergency use and to provide services to youth who are not connected to mental health teams.

Outpatient Programs + Clinics

Providence Crosstown Clinic

The Crosstown Clinic is the only clinic in North America to offer medical-grade heroin (diacetylmorphine) and the legal analgesic hydromorphone within a supervised clinical setting to chronic substance use patients.

For a list of our outpatient programs and clinics click here.


For more information about working at Providence Health Care and for current employment opportunities, please visit our Careers site.