In 2016, the British Columbia Provincial Health Officer declared a public health emergency due to dramatic increases in fentanyl-related overdose deaths in the province, including among street-involved young people. Substance use treatment is a cornerstone of addressing the overdose crisis, and Vancouver is in the process of rapidly expanding its efforts to create a comprehensive substance use treatment system for adolescents and young adults. However, many urgent questions remain regarding how to most effectively deliver these interventions in ways that are congruent with the complex, everyday lived experiences of these young people, as well as those who provide substance use treatment and care to this population.

The Treatment Trajectories Study explores street-involved young people’s substance use treatment trajectories and outcomes in the context of Vancouver’s expanding efforts to address the current overdose crisis. Through longitudinal interviews and ethnographic fieldwork, we are documenting the evolving experiences of these young people and their service providers over time, as they navigate a rapidly transforming landscape of care. Our goal is to create new knowledge that can directly inform ongoing efforts to deliver innovative substance use treatment services to youth across Greater Vancouver.


The objectives of the study are to:

  1. Document the evolving experiences of street-involved youth and service providers as they access/provide Suboxone® as a first line pharmacotherapy for opioid use disorder;
  2. Describe and prospectively monitor street-involved youth’s substance use treatment trajectories and outcomes within Vancouver’s expanding and increasingly coordinated efforts to address the overdose crisis; and
  3. Identify the knowledge gaps that could impede the implementation and scale up of substance use treatment services for street-involved youth in Vancouver.


Throughout all stages of the research, we are working closely with the At-Risk Youth Study (ARYS) Peer Research Team and Youth Advisory Council.

Our other partners include:

  • Vancouver Coastal Health Authority
  • Family Services of Greater Vancouver-Directions Youth Services
  • Urban Native Youth Association (UNYA)
  • YouthCO HIV and Hepatitis C Society


Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Interested in finding out more about the Treatment Trajectories Study?

Please contact Danya Fast at [email protected].

BC Centre on Substance Use

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E: [email protected] | T: (778) 945-7616 | F: (604) 428-5183

24/7 Addiction Clinician Support Line: (778) 945-7619

Online Addiction Medicine Diploma: [email protected].

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