Understanding pathways to enhance access to youth substance use services, interventions, and overdose prevention resources in Victoria, BC

In 2021, the BC experienced 196 fatal/non-fatal reported overdoses in youth under the age of 19, and 18 lost their lives. Despite the increasing number of youth with substance use disorders in BC, current data shows that voluntary, community-based, and youth-friendly support services are lacking. The Understanding Pathways project aims to address this by learning from youth who have had their lives impacted by substance use, what their diverse hopes, wishes and ideas are for accessible, non-judgmental, safe, and culturally-centered substance use services. The project will engage with youth as co-researchers and collaborate with frontline, community-based, policy, and academic researchers and research users in the field of youth substance use. We will convene with two youth advisory councils to plan and deliver a workshop where we will develop a journey map illustrating the continuum of substance use services required to meet the diverse needs of youth. We will compliment this with a scoping review of youth substance use interventions and promising practices. The journey map and scoping findings will be linked in a research brief to inform future research and knowledge translation activities.

Team members: Andrea Mellor (University of Victoria – Canadian Institutes for Substance Use Research); Denise Cloutier (University of Victoria – Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health); Jenna Bailey (Surrounded by Cedar Child and Family Services); Jennifer Chuckry (Surrounded by Cedar Child and Family Services); Glenys Webster (BC Representative for Children and Youth); Barbara Thompson (Victoria Youth Clinic Society); Zahra Premji (University of Victoria).