Regional Demonstration Project 2

Building capacity for community-based substance misuse (SM) screening and brief interventions

Researchers and service providers recognize that only a small proportion of substance misusers are ever diagnosed or receive specialty SM treatment. Many people exhibiting moderate-to-low problem severity prefer, and can benefit from, exposure to low-intensity brief and self-directed interventions.  Alberta-based randomized trials demonstrate the efficacy of this type of intervention among adults, but the approach has been challenging to scale up for population impact.

This project will develop an online screening, self-management, and referral to treatment (SSMRT) resource for SM among youth.  Recent reviews concluded that application of SSMRT interventions to youth is promising, but that the evidence base is weak and that additional research is needed to examine the impact of interventions that link SM screening with tailored and brief, internet-based interventions.  Researchers and service providers A thematic focus on SSMRT is appropriate for our region as it represents an opportunity to reduce unmet need for care, particularly in remote regions, by using online technologies.

Project Status:

  • In Phase 1 (2015-2017), we carried out a systematic scoping review of brief SM screening and intervention tools that would be suitable for use in a self-directed online format.
    • Screening and categorization of included studies is complete.
  • In Phase 2 (2017-2018), we developed an online platform that includes: (1) information about substance use/misuse, (2) screening tools, (3) treatment service directories, as well as (4) resources for researchers. In the coming year, acceptability and usability of the online platform will be assessed in post-secondary populations which will be used to optimize the platform.
  • In Phase 3 (2019-2020), we will release the first version of the platform, focusing on cannabis, and will expand the platform to include other substances.

This project was presented at the CRISM Prairie Node 2nd Annual Gathering held Nov 15-16, 2017 in Calgary, AB.