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Opioid Use Treatment for Youth — Improving Treatment Together

New ITT project will co-create new approaches to youth opioid use treatment

The Improving Treatment Together (ITT) project works directly with families, youth and service providers to improve opioid treatment for youth. The goal is collaboratively to build solutions that fit the needs of youth with opioid use disorders.

Given the current state of the opioid crisis in Canada, there is a clear need for treatment services that youth who have opioid use disorder can access. Established treatments were created for adults. Treatments for youth opioid use should respond to the specific needs of youth.

The ITT Project has three guiding principles:

  • Improving access to treatment for youth​

  • Providing treatment that meets the specific needs of youth

  • Allowing youth to receive treatment as long as they require​

Our approach is to work with youth, families and service providers. By collaborating with these groups from the very start of the project, we can understand the different needs of each group. This strategic approach provides a greater impact when creating products and tools that will improve opioid treatment for youth.

Currently, the ITT Project is concentrating its work in Western Canada.​​​


The need for the ITT Project came to light from consultations with stakeholders in 2016 and 2017 around a review of recently published research pointing to the need for developmentally appropriate substance use treatment for youth. The recently published research includes:

Resources and Tools

The project will seek to contribute to the emerging evidence-based resources and tools to guide treatment of youth opioid use disorder. These include:

Project Partners and Collaboration 

CCSA is working closely with two main provincial partners to develop the ITT project: Foundry in British Columbia and Alberta Health Services in Alberta.   

Other collaborations being developed to help align the project with emerging research and promising practices include the McCreary Centre Society, the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use and the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse, Prairies.

CCSA is also working with national partner FRAYME to ensure learning and knowledge generated by the ITT Project is widely shared across Canada and internationally.

Coming Soon

CCSA and Foundry are working together with selected communities in British Columbia to co-design solutions that are meaningful to community members. These solutions will become elements of the services offered by four Foundry centres as part of their integrated youth hubs.