Young Adult Substance Use Program (YA-SUP)


About YA-SUP:

Substance use peaks in young adulthood and is a significant challenge for many young people and their families. Substance use also often co-occurs with other mental health concerns, including anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder. Our Young Adult Substance Use Program offers services for youth and parents to reduce the negative consequences of substance use and to promote healthy living. The program provides access to a wide variety of evidence-based approaches to maximize benefits to youth and their loved ones.

Young Adult Substance Use Program (YA-SUP)


The program offers both individual counselling sessions, daily drop-in group programming, and consultations with specialists to optimize patient outcomes

Our mission:

  1. To reduce the negative impact of substance use on young adults' lives, whether that be through abstinence or harm reduction

  2. To improve mental health and wellbeing by focusing on the whole-person

  3. To increase engagement in substance-free activities, creating a life in which values, goals, and behaviours are in alignment

We value:

  • Providing young adult centered care

  • Creating a safe(r) space

  • Caring for the whole person

  • Collaborating with stakeholders and community providers

  • Using evidence-based practices and generating new evidence 

Learn more in this video - COMING SOON

Loved Ones Program for Parents and Other Family Members

The YA-SUP Loved Ones Support Group is a group for loved ones of those with substance use. This may include biological, extended, or chosen family members or close friends and partners. These group sessions use the Community Reinforcement Approach to Family Training (CRAFT), an evidence-based program that teaches family members skills for navigating the challenges of addiction 


The Loved Ones Stream is distinct and operates separately from the Young Adult Stream. You do not have to have a child in the youth program to participate in the Loved Ones Support Group.

For more information about our 7-module program:

YA-SUP Loved Ones Infographic Version 1.

If you are interested in participating in a Loved Ones Support Group, email us at



Additional Parent Resources


Your Care Team

We have a multi-disciplinary and collaborative team with expertise in mental health and community support counselling, nursing, addiction psychiatry, and substance use research.


James MacKilop, PhD

I'm James and I direct the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research. I'm a psychologist and I'm interested in understanding the causes of substance use challenges and the best ways people can make changes in their lives. Outside of work, my wife and I wrangle two kids and a dog, and I'm a running enthusiast.

02-10-2021 - YA-SUP Headshots- Catherine

Catherine McCarron, MSW

Hello, my name is Catherine, and I'm both a registered social worker and manager of the Young Adult Substance Use Program. In my free time I enjoy sailing and going on adventures with my niece and nephew.

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Jillian Halladay, RN, MSc

Hi, my name is Jillian, and I am a mental health nurse and researcher. I have helped with the development and evaluation of the YA-SUP. Outside of work, I like to hike, watch Netflix, try to cook, and lift weights.

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Kyla King

Hi, my name is Kyla, and I am a Community Support Counsellor with the YA-SUP. I love music, yoga and hiking.

Mareena Mathew, NP

Hi, my name is Mareena, and I am a Nurse Practitioner. I have always worked in mental health and addiction service, and I have a special interest in working with youth. I love music, dance, outdoor activities, and spending time with my dog. 

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Michelle Venantius, MD

Hi, my name is Michelle, and I provide psychiatric consultation to the wonderful team at YA-SUP. When I am not at work, I am spending time with my family, trying new recipes, and finding creative ways to help out at schools.

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Holly Raymond, MSW

Hi, my name is Holly and I am a Director in the Mental Health and Addictions program at St. Joe's. I am very passionate about working with people who have experience with co-existing mental health and substance challenges. In my spare time I like to exercise, watch cooking shows, and spend time with my cat.

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Jacinda Burns

Hello, my name is Jacinda and I am a Research Assistant on the Young Adult Substance Use Program. In my free time, I like to try new foods, listen to podcasts, and find new trails to explore.


Kiran Punia, MSc

Hi, my name is Kiran, and I am a Research Assistant at the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research. I am excited to be helping out with the YA-SUP program. Outside of work I enjoy Netflix, trying cool new restaurants, and doing different types of workouts

Liam Younger

Hello, my name is Liam, and I am a research assistant at the PBCAR. I help facilitate the battery component of the YA-SUP. In my free time, I enjoy playing Kendama, disc golfs, hiking, studying nature, and playing, producing, and mixing music. 

Marina Kennedy, MSW

I'm Marina, a registered social worker who has been working with young people for nearly 15 years, dedicating the past 6 years to treating addictions and mental health. I'm an avid runner who loves hot summers and engaging children in philosophical discussions; I typically spend my downtime reading non-fiction or playing music.

Shahnawaz Ali, NP

Hi, my name is Shahnawaz. I am a Nurse Practitioner with the Young Adult Substance Use Program. In my free time, I enjoy cooking for my family music, making music, and playing video games.