Investigating what matters to youth: A mixed-methods study of youth-centred opioid treatments and their outcomes

Since 2016, approximately 1,200 youth in British Columbia (BC) between the ages of 15 and 24 have died from opioid-related overdoses. This has left families and communities to mourn the loss of their loved ones.

These overdose deaths can be avoided by getting youth the help they need, as early as possible. However, most of the currently available help has focused on adults, under the assumption that what works for adults will also work for youth. Unfortunately, research in BC has recently found that this is not the case. Instead, existing options for help do not meet youths’ opioid treatment needs.

The main goal of this study is to determine how to best help youth who use opioids. To meet this objective, we will engage youth, parents/caregivers and service providers in a research study. This study will explore priorities for opioid use treatment delivery. It will also determine how to best define the benefits of opioid use treatment for youth.

The findings of this study will help service providers and policy makers to deliver opioid treatments in a way that will better meet youths’ unique needs. The findings will also help future researchers to make sure that they are studying what matters most to youth.