Home > Assessing service and treatment needs and barriers of youth who use illicit and non-medical prescription drugs in Northern Ontario, Canada.

Russell, Cayley and Neufeld, Maria and Sabioni, Pamela and Varatharajan, Thepikaa and Ali, Farihah and Miles, Sarah and Henderson, Joanna and Fischer, Benedikt and Rehm, Jürgen [PLOS One] . (2019) Assessing service and treatment needs and barriers of youth who use illicit and non-medical prescription drugs in Northern Ontario, Canada. PLoS ONE, 14 (12, e0225548) https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225548

URL: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.13...

BACKGROUND: Illicit drug use rates are high among Canadian youth, and are particularly pronounced in Northern Ontario. The availability and accessibility of effective substance use-related treatments and services are required to address this problem, especially among rural and remote Northern communities. In order to assess specific service and treatment needs, as well as barriers and deterrents to accessing and utilizing services and treatments for youth who use illicit drugs in Northern Ontario, we conducted the present study.

METHODS: This study utilized a mixed-methods design and incorporated a community-based participatory research approach. Questionnaires were administered in conjunction with audio-recorded semi-structured interviews and/or focus groups with youth (aged 14-25) who live in Northern Ontario and use illicit drugs. Interviews with 'key informants' who work with the youth in each community were also conducted. Between August and December 2017, the research team traveled to Northern Ontario communities and carried out data collection procedures.

RESULTS: A total of 102 youth and 35 key informants from eleven different Northern Ontario communities were interviewed. The most commonly used drugs were prescription opioids, cocaine and crack-cocaine. Most participants experienced problems related to their drug use, and reported 'fair' mental and physical health status. Qualitative analyses highlighted an overall lack of services; barriers to accessing treatment and services included lack of motivation, stigmatization, long wait-lists and transportation/mobility issues. Articulated needs revolved around the necessity of harm reduction-based services, low-threshold programs, specialized programming, and peer-based counselling.

CONCLUSIONS: Although each community varied in terms of drug use behaviors and available services, an overall need for youth-specific, low-threshold services was identified. Information gathered from this study can be used to help inform rural and remote communities towards improving treatment and service system performance and provision.


Item Type:Evidence resource
Drug Type:Alcohol or other drugs in general
Intervention Type:AOD disorder, AOD disorder treatment method, AOD disorder harm reduction
Source:PLOS One
Date:December 2019
Page Range:e0225548
Volume:14
Number:12, e0225548
EndNote:View
Subjects:J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Treatment and maintenance > Treatment factors
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Treatment and maintenance > Patient attitude toward treatment
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Treatment and maintenance > Provider / worker / staff attitude toward treatment
J Health care, prevention and rehabilitation > Health care programme or facility > Substance disorder treatment unit
T Demographic characteristics > Adolescent / youth (teenager / young person)
T Demographic characteristics > Young person who uses substances (user)
VA Geographic area > Canada

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