Roadblocks to treatment can trigger intravenous drug use in disadvantaged youth

published on January 6, 2017 by Justin Kravcik in Addictions Now

Researchers at the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS conducted a study that examined the relationship between initiation of intravenous drug use (IDU) and the inability to receive addiction therapy among street-involved youth in Canada.

“We wanted to understand how common it was that youth had difficulty accessing treatment, and whether there were specific youths that were having more trouble than others,” said lead researcher Kora Debeck, Ph.D.

Researchers recruited 1,157 participants aged 14-23 that were current drug users.

In order to measure IDU initiation, researchers had to disqualify young people who never used intravenous drugs. By 2014, 462 participants were still included in the study and were given a questionnaire on a semi-annual basis.

The youth were asked questions regarding their drug habits, sexual and drug-related risk behaviors, altercations with police, contact with health services, and participation in addiction recovery. At the end of each visit, they were paid $30 CAD.

Data from the At-Risk Youth Study (ARYS) found that Aboriginal youths experienced more obstacles when seeking addiction therapy. This is consistent withprevious research, which showed that Aboriginal adults were less likely to pursue addiction treatment.

Additional studies found that homeless people experienced treatment access difficulties due to lack of transportation, no phone, and no steady residence as factors.

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