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The Raven’s Way Approach to Substance Abuse Recovery for Teens

If it’s too late to prevent your child from forming a drug or alcohol problem, it’s normal to wonder what you could have done differently, if you should have seen it coming and what signals you may have missed. Now however is not the time to criticize yourself. You need to explore options that give your child the best chance for recovery. And if you live in Alaska, Raven’s Way may be just the place for recovery.

Raven’s Way (YÉIL JEEYÁX) is a healing place for Alaska youth struggling with drugs and/or alcohol. Youth become residents of the program and are under the care of experienced healthcare and education professionals who understand the underlying factors that lead to substance abuse.

Raven’s Way accepts young people from diverse cultural backgrounds and operates under the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) network. It is located on the same campus as Mount Edgecumbe Medical Center and the Behavioral Health Clinic (Haa Toowóo Náakw Hít) in Sitka, Alaska.

The Program

Steeped in the traditions of Native ancestry, Raven’s Way encourages a strong body and strong spirit by combining psychotherapy and substance abuse curriculums with an on-site school (earn credits), experiential adventure therapy and Native cultural activities.

The licensed, 12-bed facility emphasizes a wilderness expedition component. Staff strive for their students to enjoy life, have purpose and be positive and productive members of their families, schools and communities. If you know a youth struggling with substance abuse and/or dependence, Raven’s Way may be able to help.

Treatment and Staff

At the beginning of theprogram, clients undergo complete assessments by licensed medical and behavioral health providers. Teens requiring medication-assisted treatment and psychiatric care for co-occurring disorders such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and attention deficit disorder are referred to the Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center Behavioral Health clinic. Detox services are not provided.

Typical Day at Raven’s Way

A typical day at Raven’s Way includes a morning jog, breakfast, morning meditation, school, lunch, group therapy, individual therapy, drug addiction class and a guest lecture. Since healthy sleep is considered a vital part of treatment, residents are provided with ample opportunities to rest.

The eight-week program at Raven’s Way utilizes several evidence-based techniques including DBTCBT and the Matrix Model. Treatment includes group therapyindividual therapy and classes that teach teens about the 12 steps, the physical impact of substance abuse, and how to deal with peer pressure. Group topics include relapse prevention and coping skills.

Each resident will take a seven-to 10-day wilderness expedition that facilitates group bonding and self-reliance and allows them to explore the beautiful Alaskan outdoors and connect with Native traditions.

Financial Support

Indian Health Service (IHS), Medicaid or private insurance covers the cost of treatment and travel for most students.

Who Should Attend

Alaska youth who are:

  • Ages 13-18
  • Struggling with substance abuse and/or dependence
  • Showing signs of addiction
  • Getting into trouble
  • Missing school
  • Disrespecting elders and family


Adolescents referred to Raven’s Way should be those who would benefit from a program that includes physical challenges, group cooperation, and team building. Referrals may come from parents, community service providers, health councils, probation officers, schools, and others responsible for an adolescent that may be in need of substance abuse treatment.


Raven’s Way is accredited by The Joint Commission and licensed by the State of Alaska and adheres to the ethical standards of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC).

To learn more and see if Raven’s Way would be a good fit for a teenager you know who struggles with substance abuse, call 907.966.8716, toll-free: 800.770.3063 or email: rwintake@searhc.org.

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The SEARHC Crisis Help Line, 1.877.294.0074, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to residents of Southeast Alaska.