The Addiction Treatment Services Unit (ATSU), formerly known as the Detoxification Unit, a section of the Department of Psychiatry, was officially opened on March 13, 1991. Its name was changed to the Addiction Treatment Services Unit in January 2012. It is an integral part of the National Council on Drug Abuse’s integral demand reduction strategy, as well as, a partner in substance abuse treatment services offered in Jamaica.

The Treatment Programme

The treatment programme is voluntary. It is designed to:

  • Assist individuals with dependency issues who are motivated to change
  • Support clients through the early, acute phase of the rehabilitation process from substance misuse.
  • Refer to other treatment service providers those clients who need longer term treatment when indicated.

It is a three (3) week residential programme that helps client balance internal resources with a strong social support system for ongoing recovery after discharge.


The programme combines psychoeducational and psychotherapeutic group activities with individual and family counseling. As part of their support system, clients are introduced to Narcotics Anonymous twice weekly.

The vital components of the programme are:

  • Knowledge of the nature of addiction
  • Stress management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Understanding the triggers and cravings that may lead to relapse
  • Comprehensive education about relapse prevention

The multidisciplinary team assists clients to determine and set sobriety goals and develop an effective after care plan. Follow-up sessions are available for clients up to a year following discharge.

Admission Policy

Admission to the Unit is voluntary so motivation is important for successful recovery from substance abuse. Clients with overriding medical, surgical and/or psychiatric conditions are not admitted until those conditions are stabilised.

Clients may be admitted through:

  • A referral from the Emergency Medicine Division
  • The ATSU new patient and/or follow-up clinics
  • A transfer from other wards after stabilization of additional conditions.