Parents Like Us. The Unofficial Survival Guide to Parenting a Young Person with a Substance Use Disorder is a support resource for parents. A group of twelve parents in Victoria, British Columbia, created the handbook in partnership with CCSA and Foundry Victoria. It is intended to improve the experiences and outcomes of community-based services for young people who use substances, their families and service providers.
The handbook is a collection of shared experiences and stories to help other parents and caregivers find refuge, support and courage to reach out for help. Whether your young person is experimenting with substances or has developed a substance use disorder, this handbook can help you feel connected with other parents and caregivers going through similar experiences.
If you read this handbook, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave your feedback here.
CCSA is developing “how-to” guide to provide step-by-step instructions on how an individual or an organization can create a similar handbook for their community. We expect the manual to be ready for distribution in 2023.
If you want a copy of the manual, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our Alberta youth workshops felt there were a lack of positive stories in the public domain that feature young people doing well dealing with an opioid use disorder. The youth we spoke with reflected that most stories in the media deal with fatal overdoses and systemic failures. They identified a need for stories of hope showcasing the real experiences of youth. The youth from the workshops also wanted to show their involvement in projects like Improving Treatment Together as a way for young people to positively influence service delivery.
The youth worked for six weeks with the assistance of a professional storyteller to develop their stories around their lived and living experience with opioid use. The youth then created their own videos to effectively tell their story of how they achieved wellness and what worked for them on their journey.
Alberta Health and Wellness has released the first set of Real stories from youth. These stories:
- Cover opioid use and opioid use disorder treatment options;
- Explain why young people might use opioids;
- Fight stigma around opioid use;
- Help encourage youth to get help for opioid use; and
- Show there is hope for treatment and recovery.
One of the videos has been featured in Frayme’s Great Big Stories virtual gallery. CCSA was one of ten organizations chosen by Frayme to capture and tell stories of youth and caregiver equity, while including the creation, design and refinement of youth mental heath and substance use programs and services.
CCSA is developing an interactive simulation of what it is like for a youth to be engaged in opioid use or have an opioid use disorder. The simulation also looks at the impact of the youth’s disorder on their family, trying to access services and the effects of stigma on youth with opioid use disorder.
The user can experience the simulation in both a rural and an urban setting. The characteristics of each setting will have an impact on the types of choices available. We expect to release the simulation in late 2022 or early 2023.
In collaboration with community partners Foundry Kelowna and Foundry Vancouver-Granville ,“Step-by-Step: A Youth-Informed Guide to Opioid Agonist Treatment” is a short, lived-experience video series about a young person’s everyday experience with opioid agonist treatment (OAT) as part of a treatment program. The videos hope to demystify and destigmatize OAT by providing authentic and relatable information for those seeking treatment for opioid use and to increase confidence for youth considering or starting OAT.
The series features four episodes:
- You’re Worth It: Defines what OAT is and its potential life-saving benefits within the context of the drug toxicity emergency.
- The Daily Routine: Provides descriptions of the different types of medications available for youth in British Columbia. Youth describe what being on OAT looks like in day-to-day life.
- Side Effects: Explains common side effects youth experienced while on OAT.
- The Big Picture: Explores the idea that OAT is only one tool that supports one’s wellness journey, and everyone’s treatment pathway is different. Youth share what other elements helped them while on OAT, including staying connected through support groups, friends and peers.
We’d love to hear your thoughts on these videos! Please fill out a short survey here.
In collaboration with Foundry Prince George , the ITT team developed a youth inclusion tool for health and social organizations to serve young people. The tool supports organizations in an ongoing learning process to improve youth service experiences by providing insight on their strengths and helping identify feasible solutions to address their weaker areas. The tool will help organizations assess their status in four areas:
- Accessibility: How accessible is the service for young people, including hours of operation, affordability and the ageing out process.
- Service environment: How welcoming and comfortable is the service environment, including inclusivity and diversity and whether the organization meets young people’s basic needs.
- Quality of service: What is the quality of service, including whether the organization applies a patient-centred approach, respects young people’s rights to privacy and confidentiality, and is responsive to youth feedback.
- Continuity of care: How is continuity of care ensured, including whether the organization is well connected to other services in the community that serve youth who use substances.
The tool comes with a list of youth-informed recommendations to address each assessment question, a list of youth services to improve youth and service provider awareness of local services, and a question sheet that includes questions young people may want to ask their service providers when accessing substance use services. The tool will be of interest to:
- Substance use service providers
- Mental health service providers
- Youth treatment service providers
- Harm reduction service providers
- Youth shelters
- Community health centres
- Social services
- Emergency departments
If you or your organization uses this tool, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave your feedback here
- Marchand, K., Tallon, C., Katan, C., Fairbank, J., Fogarty, O., Pellatt, K. M., … Barbic, S. (2021). Improving Treatment Together: A protocol for a multi-phase, community-based participatory, and co-design project to improve youth opioid treatment service experiences in British Columbia. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice, 16(1), Article 53.
- Marchand, K., Fogarty, O., Pellatt, K.M., Vig, K., Melnychuk, J., Katan, C., … Barbic, S. (2022). “We need to build a better bridge”: Findings from a multi-site qualitative analysis of opportunities for improving opioid treatment services for youth. Harm Reduction Journal, 19, Article 37.
- Marchand, K., Turuba, R., Katan, C., Brasset, C., Fogarty, O., Tallon, C., … Barbic, S. (2022). Becoming our young people’s case managers: Caregivers’ experiences, needs, and ideas for improving opioid use treatments for young people using opioids. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 17(1), Article 34.
- Youth Research Academy. (2019). Meaningful youth engagement practices that target low-resourced youth who use substances: Knowledge summary. Vancouver, BC: McCreary Centre Society.
- Youth Research Academy. (2020). Prescribing pain: Misuse of prescription medication, heroin and other substances among youth in BC. Vancouver, BC: McCreary Centre Society.