STEP: Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment

Mental Health STEP Program

STEP Program Quick Facts

  • Substance Abuse Treatment, Education and Prevention (STEP) is a substance treatment program which specializes in working with adolescents.
  • We provide ongoing outpatient treatment services to support clients up to the age of 21.
  • We offer weekly individual, family, and group therapy as well as parental support to address substance use and mental health needs of our clients and their families.
  • In therapy we collaborate with clients on their goals through utilizing evidence based practices while offering support and guidance.
  • We are happy to serve people even if they aren’t ready to stop using. We work with clients who are at all difference places of readiness.
  • We offer incentives for continued progress in sobriety and recovery.
  • We specialize in medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorders for adolescents. The Denver Health Emergency Room facilitates a 24/7 intake for persons of all ages suffering with opioid use disorder.
  • Medication management is available for psychiatric support if needed as well.

Who can participate in the STEP Program?

Denver Health’s Substance Abuse Treatment, Education and Prevention (STEP) Program supports clients up to the age of 21. We accept many insurance carriers, including Medicaid, as well as private pay clients.

How to Get Started

To engage in our program, please attend our Walk-in Clinic to complete an intake every Tuesday at 1:30 p.m.

  • Walk-in clinic is first come first serve.
  • We can see up to three clients every week via the walk-in clinic.
  • No appointment is necessary.
  • Please contact the STEP program if our walk-in time is not convenient for you so we can accommodate your scheduling needs.

Location and Contact

301 W 6th Ave Pavilion G on Denver Health Campus Denver, CO 80204

We are located in the basement of The Wellington Webb building (Pavillion G) on the Denver Health Campus. 

To engage in the STEP program or speak to a representative to learn more please call our STEP Intake Coordinator at 303.602.4848 or email us at 

Our Approach to Therapy

We created the Substance Abuse Treatment, Education and Prevention (STEP) Program to respond to the growing need for therapeutic support for young adults struggling with substance abuse. STEP is a strength-based program that focuses on acceptance and understanding. Our therapists meet clients where they are at and support them in achieving their self-identified goals. We understand that our clients have often been faced with shame and punishment around their substance use. This shame and punishment can be detrimental to their development and mental health.

When clients come to us they are often feeling alone and misunderstood. We understand that youth often use substances to manage painful emotions. The therapists at STEP hold a safe space to earn trust from our clients so that they feel comfortable sharing painful emotions and experiences. This process frees clients and families to move in directions that matter to them.

In therapy we collaborate with clients on their goals through evidence-based practices, including acceptance and commitment therapy and motivational interviewing. Our clients also provide voluntary urine drug screens. Based on these results we offer cash incentives for continued progress in sobriety and recovery. Psychiatric consultation and medication management are also available.

STEP at School-Based Health Centers

The school-based STEP program has staff placed in various Denver Public Schools (DPS) in the Denver community and is available to all DPS students. Once they graduate from DPS, students are able to continue their therapy with the STEP program located on the Denver Health main campus.

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.