Families who have availed of youth addiction services in St. John's say Eastern Health is making a great error by reducing the number of staff available.

The health authority recently announced that one of the two addictions counsellors at the Rowan Centre will be transferred to another job.

CBC News spoke to two mothers who didn't want to be identified to protect the identities of their children.

Both parents said they are calling on the health authority to reconsider their decision.

One mother said her son was addicted to prescription drugs while in high school when he turned to the Rowan Centre to get help.

"He was close to death. He got in very deep with drug dealers, he owed them a lot of money and his life was being threatened," she said.

"He just couldn't continue. I mean, this habit was probably costing him probably $500 a day."

Getting help in time

She said her son is doing well after working with the same counsellor who is being transferred to a different job within Eastern Health, but fears other youth in similar situations may not get the help they need in time.

"To be told that they have to wait before they can join this program will be devastating," she said.

"They'll go back to the drugs, and they'll probably never walk through the doors again."

Another mother said the staff changes will also mean a support group for parents of addicted teens will be suspended.

"What they are doing is cutting off basically a life line to these parents, and to me, I'm speaking out as a past member because it's the only thing that helped me and that guided me," she said.

CBC News has asked Eastern Health to respond to the parents' concerns.