STEP: Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment

Mental Health STEP Program

STEP Program

Teens have developing brains that are more susceptible to addiction and more vulnerable to the harmful effects of substances than adults, whose brains are fully mature. Many people are profiting from the exploitation of adolescents’ vulnerability to addiction. The Substance Abuse Treatment, Education and Prevention (STEP) Program was established to respond to these issues.  

Located both on the campus of Denver Health as well as in several Denver Public Schools, the STEP Program offers a 12-week outpatient treatment program for adolescents and young adults 11 to 24 years of age. Providers at STEP are equipped to address both mental health and substance use concerns because studies show substance use is likely to continue, even with successful mental health treatment, unless drug use is also treated.

We offer effective treatment to help motivate adolescents to stop using drugs and alcohol, even if they do not initially think there is a problem. Using evidence based practices, we collaborate with teenagers and youth to identify new approaches to life’s challenges and create the meaningful life they want to live.

STEP appreciates referrals and works regularly with schools, faith-based organizations, community groups and the juvenile justice system. LGBT referrals are welcome. Denver Health offers open, affirming and excellent care for ALL people. We accept most insurance.

For more information, download this STEP Program card.

STEP Research

STEP also conducts clinical research that may result in effective, new treatments for adolescents and teens with substance abuse problems. You can view the STEP Program outcomes & research here.

For more information or to enroll in the STEP program, contact us at