Youth Cohort Study: Young people's pathways through AOD treatment services (current)
Contact: Angela Harney, Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre
Young people comprise a substantial group within Victorian Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) treatment services, and are frequently involved with a range of treatment and support services. The Youth Cohort Study aims to learn more about the treatment pathways and experiences for young people using AOD treatment services, following participants for up to 2 years. The project will also look at participant’s contact with the wider service system and at how behaviour and life circumstances change during that time. A group of 150 young people engaged with AOD treatment services (aged 16-21 years) were recruited to participate in a series of interviews, and follow-up interviews will be conducted until late 2011. The anticipated completion date for this project is December 2011.
Evaluation of the Koori Youth Alcohol and Drug Healing Service. A partnership between YSAS and Ngwala Willumbong Co-operative Ltd (Ngwala) (current)
Contact:Bern Murphy, Youth Research Centre, University of Melbourne
Funded by Drugs Policy and Services branch, Victorian Department of Human Services, and the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation (AERF)
The aim of this study is to undertake an evaluation of the Indigenous-specific drug and alcohol service at the Koori Youth Alcohol and Drug Healing Service. The original aims of the evaluation are to document via a narrative ‘story’ or commentary (with conclusions and recommendations) with advice, input, consultation and review from major stakeholders in the development and implementation of the service with particular attention to:
The partnership between the organisations involved (YSAS and Ngwala Willumbong Co-operative Ltd) and the impact of the proposed “mentoring” and capacity building aspects of the project on both agencies and broader stakeholders
Program development and the integration of Koori culture in the program
Action research and evaluation of the service
Traditional methods of using surveys and questionnaires were inappropriate to this group, and young people were asked to tell their “stories” and share their thoughts in open ended, in-depth interviews. Young people were asked about their life ‘experience’ and what it means to them to be living in the house as a way to undergo a rehabilitative process. The researcher visited the service on a regular basis, collecting data through mixed methods including formal interviews, informally talking with staff, through participatory methods such as attending staff meetings or spending time in the service, and filming the service.
The final evaluation report is not complete, however early findings indicate there is a need for a Koori specific service for young people and that nurturing and developing a strong connection with their cultural identity is crucial in the healing process. The participants respond well while in a protected environment such as the Service but this also highlights the need for post service support. More resources are needed to continue the healing process beyond the Service. The evaluation also highlights the need for staff working in residential care to be well supported and provided with appropriate supervision.
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Evaluation of Specialist Alcohol and Other Drug Primary Health Services (SAPHS) (2011-Current)
Contact:Janette Mugavin, Michael Savic, Barbara Hunter, Lynda Berends,
& Dina Eleftheriadis, Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre
Funded byVictorian Government Department of Health, Victoria.
Project details to be released in 2012
Doctoral Research Project – Understanding problematic drug use among young people (Current)
Contact: Kathryn Daley
Supervisor: Chris Chamberlain
The Centre for Applied Social Research, RMIT University
Funded by an AERF Innovative Project Grant, and Australian Postgraduate Award and an RMIT top-up scholarship
Collaborative partners: YSAS, the Centre for Applied Social Research at RMIT University, and Barwon Youth AOD services.
Beginning from the recognition that many young people experiment with alcohol and other drugs, yet few come to be in need of professional intervention, this project seeks to answer the question: how do some young people come to experience problematic substance use? The purpose of the study is to develop a sound, detailed understanding of pathways into problematic drug use. By doing this, we aim to use this information to guide both policy and practice. Having an empirical understanding of what precipitates problematic drug use contributes to better prevention and early-intervention initiatives.
The project has a mixed-methods design, undertaken in three phases:
Analysis of qualitative data from centralised client database
Structured interviews with youth outreach workers in Victoria
In-depth qualitative interviews with up to 80 young people accessing youth AOD services in Victoria
Preliminary results indicate that these young people are severely disadvantaged in multiple and compounding ways (e.g.: homelessness affects education and employment opportunities, without which then limits young people’s abilities to create pathways out of their current situation). The young people have also experienced extreme levels of trauma (i.e. sexual assault, death of a family member), which has frequently been exacerbated by an absence of support of safe environments. This research is demonstrating that these young people’s troubles typically began at least a decade prior to their substance use initiation. It is anticipated that findings from this study will inform policy and practice
Daley, K. 2009. The ethics of doing research with young drug users. Refereed proceedings of The Australian Sociological Association Annual Conference, December 1-4 2009, Australian National University: Canberra.
Doctoral Research Project – Exploring Methamphetamine Service Provision (Current)
Supervisors:Prof David Moore, Suzanne Fraser
National Drug Research Institute (NDRI), Curtin University
Funded by NHMRC
Despite relatively large populations of regular and dependent methamphetamine users, there are few methamphetamine-specific interventions, and the utilisation of treatment and other health services is low. This qualitative study will investigate how and why the social contexts of service provision may prevent methamphetamine users from seeking services. The study will explore the role of treatment providers, the discourses shaping service encounters, this research will address these gaps in current understandings about provision of service to this group.
To investigate how service providers construct methamphetamine users and understand their role in the provision of treatment and other health services.
To understand the service needs of methamphetamine users and how they construct and respond to existing treatment and other health services.
To map the power relations, ideas and practices shaping encounters between service providers and methamphetamine users.
To explore the limitations and possibilities of service provision for methamphetamine users.
To inform the development of policy and practice designed to reduce methamphetamine-related harms.
To contribute to the emerging international literature on critical approaches to drug policy and practice.
In-depth interviews have been conducted with methamphetamine users and service providers. Analysis focusing on the discourses of drug use, drug users, service needs and service delivery from the perspectives of both drug users and service providers is currently underway. It is anticipated that this project will be completed in 2012.
Doctoral Research Project – At risk young women with a history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA): Practitioners’ perception of acute care support (Current)
Status: In progress
Contact: Angela Asche
Supervisors: Prof Margot Schofield, Prof Lawrie Moloney
School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, La Trobe University
A substantial body of research has established correlations between a history of Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) and a multitude of adverse physical, Mental Health and social impacts, including suicidality. Strengthening support services in the community is noted as key to enhancing early intervention opportunities for youth at risk, aiming to avert crises which may otherwise require more intensive support from emergency services and public hospital based acute care Mental Health services.
The project aims to identify the service needs of young women who are survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) at times when they have harmed or are at risk of harming themselves. Feedback will be sought from community based health professionals, including YSAS staff, staff from other community services, GP’s and psychiatrists, on their perception of the young women’s needs and their experience of working with the women at these times. In addition, opinion will be sought on the systemic factors which support or constrain meeting the needs of the women when presenting with self harming or suicidal behaviours.
A further key area of investigation is to consult with health professionals on their experiences of collaboration with the various components of public hospital based acute care and specialist mental health services, at times when the women are considered to be too high risk to support safely in the community.
It is anticipated that this research will contribute to improving service responses and to informing future policy initiatives aimed at meeting the needs of young women with a history of CSA presenting with self harm and/or suicidality.
Improving housing outcomes for young people leaving state care, 2008-April 2010
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (RMIT)
YSAS assisted the research team from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University (RMIT) with recruitment of young people for this study. The project is funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) and run in conjunction with Curtin University in Western Australia, the University of Tasmania, Monash University (Victoria) and Hanover Welfare Services (Victoria).
The qualitative study explored the effectiveness of current transitional support models in facilitating positive housing outcomes for young people leaving care. In-depth and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 77 young people who had previously been in care (42 from Victoria; 35 from Western Australia).
AHURI (September 2010). Pathways from out-of-home care: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.
Johnson, G., Natalier, K., Mendes, P., Liddiard, M., Thoresen, S., Hollows, A., & Bailey, N. (2010). Pathways for Out of Home Care. Melbourne: Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute.
Final report available here (http://www.ahuri.edu.au/publications/projects/p30540)
Honours research project – Survival Stripped Bare: Young people participating in street sex work in Dandenong, 2010
Ben Durant, Australian Catholic University, School of Arts and Sciences – Honours research supervised by Jen Couch
This study examined the pathways, experiences and service use of young people participating in street sex work in Dandenong. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with six young people engaged in street sex work in Dandenong, and four workers from youth and community organisations whose target group may include young street sex workers in Dandenong.
The research examined the factors that informed young people’s entry into street sex work, current participation, and explored the connections of these young people to youth and community services. The study found that previous experiences in which young people felt stigmatised because of their drug use and sex work were main reasons for not re-engaging with some service. The empathic, non-judgemental approach to client contact practiced by some services was found to encourage continued client engagement with these services. Young people’s suggestions for improved service delivery include increased accessed to stable accommodation, subsidised pharmacotherapy, and extended street outreach.
Moving On: Young People and Substance Abuse. Honours Research, 2008
Kathryn Daley, RMIT School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning – Honours Research supervised by Chris Chamberlain
This study, which utilised qualitative and quantitative data, was concerned with investigating the issue of how drug use became ‘substance abuse’ for a sample of young people involved with YSAS. Two sets of qualitative interviews were conducted. The first involved interviews with 14 youth outreach workers about the basic social characteristics of their clients. Staff provided aggregated data about 111 young people. This data was supplemented with in-depth interviews with 12 young people who had experienced problematic drug use. All participants were recruited from YSAS in Melbourne, Australia.
The study confirmed that social contextual factors such as family environments, school exclusion, and homelessness, shaped progression from substance ‘use’ to ‘abuse’. The study also found that young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds were overrepresented in the sample, and that drugs were often used as an ‘emotional anaesthetic’ to stop painful thoughts and feelings. This pilot study informed development of PhD research which is ongoing.
Daley, K. (2008). Moving On: Young People and Substance Abuse. Thesis submitted to RMIT School of Global Studies, Social Science & Planning. Available here: Download [Adobe Acrobat PDF - 482.74 KB]
Daley, K. & Chamberlain, C. (2009). Moving On: Young People and Substance Abuse. Youth Studies Australia, 28, 4, 35-43.
A pilot study to examine the effectiveness of clinical case management for alcohol and drug clients, 2008-June 2009
Project partnership: Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre and YSAS
YSAS partnered Turning Point in conducting a trial to assess the efficacy of a clinical case management model for improving mental health, alcohol and other drug (AOD) use, and quality of life outcomes in an AOD setting. A Turning Point research team worked with the YSAS senior project officer responsible for staff supervision and service development initiatives.
The study was a control design (two sites):
• matched on client, clinician and team leader characteristics and program philosophy
• separated by distance to avoid contamination
• Site 1 – training in enhanced case management model versus Site 2 case management as usual
• interviews at baseline and three months after first contact.
The two treatment groups were compared for their drug use and dependence, access, participation and retention in treatment, as well as quality of life and mental health measures. Clinician outcomes were measured and clinicians were interviewed regarding their use of the clinical case management model. The project was funded by Australian Rotary Health Research Fund.
Cameron, J., Strickland, H., Devaney, M., Lee, N., Wright, I., & Karametos, C. (2009). A pilot study to examine the effectiveness of clinical case management for alcohol and drug clients. Report to Australian Rotary Health Research Fund. Melbourne: Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre.
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From custody to community: Individualised interventions for young people at risk of HCV infection, 2005-2008
The Burnet Institute
Young people who are in contact with the criminal justice system have been identified as a group at high risk of HCV infection. DHS funded the Burnet Institute, Centre for Population Health to extend the intensive, individualised, psychosocial-focused service provided to these young people by their support workers to include support and education for young injectors to reduce the spread of HCV and other blood borne viruses (BBVs). YSAS participated on the reference group and assisted the research team with recruitment. YSAS also assisted with a second component of the study that involved the design and delivery of up-to-date HCV education and follow-up consultation to enhance the capacity of services to respond effectively to the needs of young people in the target group.
For more information:click here [link ishttp://www.burnet.edu.au/home/cph/recent/fromcustodytocommunit}
DYADS Project, 2003- 2005
Project partnership: YSAS, Orygen Youth Health, Drug and Alcohol Services Western (DAS West)
YSAS partnered with Orygen Youth Health and Drug and Alcohol Services Western (DAS West) to assess the prevalence of mental health conditions in young drug users presenting for assistance. High rates of co-morbid affective and substance use problems are established in adults; however less research had been completed in younger populations. The project was funded by beyondblue.
Allen, N., Bonomo, Y., Cementon, E., Lubman, D., & Rogers, N. DYADS Report #2: Literature Review for Model Development. Melbourne: YSAS, Orygen, DASwest, and Beyondblue.
View DYADS 2 here
Allen, N., Bonomo, Y., Cementon, E., Lubman, D., & Rogers, N. DYADS Report #3: Literature Review for Model Development. Melbourne: YSAS, Orygen, DASwest, and Beyondblue.
View DYADS 3 here
Rogers, N. Developing Youth AOD and Depression & Anxiety Services (DYADS): An integrated approach to young people presenting with depression or anxiety and substance use problems. Melbourne: Youth Substance Abuse Service, ORYGEN Research Centre & Drug and Alcohol Services Western.
View beyondblue Research Publication here