In California, more than one in five youth misused opioid pain relievers at least once by the 11th grade.1 Some youth are at higher risk of substance use disorders (SUDs), such as youth experiencing homelessness, trauma, or stigma/discrimination/bias (e.g., youth of color, LGBTQI2SA, youth exiting foster care, documented/undocumented immigrants, justice-involved youth. 2
YOR California aims to prevent opioid overdose-related deaths through the provision of a comprehensive range of youth-specific prevention, intervention, Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), and other treatment and recovery activities for youth at high risk of overdose. These services include and target youth with poly-substance use, foster care, or juvenile justice involvement histories, as well as those in communities with high overdose rates.
Across the United States, most youth (75%) who need MAT do not receive it.3 Factors contributing to the underuse of medications for youth with an OUD include misinformation and stigma,4 a lack of waiver-certified pediatricians, and limited training in addiction medicine.5 The YOR California team recognizes that barriers and silos often prevent the comprehensive interventions youth require and the range of settings which can, and should, serve as access points for youth. Therefore, YOR California also focuses on the need for positive youth development, age-appropriate and targeted engagement, and the need to adapt adult interventions to meet the needs of youth to establish an accessible age-appropriate continuum of services.
Outreach and engagement activities to successfully reach youth and their families consider the locations youth congregate, their interests, needs and resources, and ways of communicating.
At the forefront of improving access to medications, California has focused and advanced many interventions addressing the opioid epidemic through its first MAT Expansion Project (1.0), funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) State Targeted Response (STR) grant, as well as through the MAT Expansion Project 2.0, funded by SAMHSA’s 2018 State Opioid Response (SOR) grant. For additional information, see the California MAT Expansion Project Overview.
A Joint Effort by the California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions, Advocates for Human Potential, Inc., funded by the California Department of Health Care Services Substance Use Disorder Compliance Division
1 Austin, G., Hanson, T., Polik, J., & Zheng, C. (2016). School climate, substance sse, and student wellbeing in California, 2013–2015: Results of the fifteenth biennial statewide survey. Retrieved from https://calschls.org/docs/biennial_state_1315.pdf2 Winters, K. C., Botzet, A. M., Stinchfield, R., Gonzales-Castaneda, R., Finch, A. J., Piehler, T. F., … & Hemze, A. (2018). Adolescent substance abuse treatment: A review of evidence-based research. In Leukefeld, C. G., & Gullotta, T. P. (Eds.), Adolescent Substance Abuse (pp. 141–171). New York: Springer.
3 Austin, G., Hanson, T., Polik, J., & Zheng, C. (2016). School climate, substance sse, and student wellbeing in California, 2013–2015: Results of the fifteenth biennial statewide survey. Retrieved from https://calschls.org/docs/biennial_state_1315.pdf4 Hadland, S. E., Park, T. W., & Bagley, S. M. (2018). Stigma associated with medication treatment for young adults with opioid use disorder: A case series. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 12(1), 15.
5 Winters, K. C., Botzet, A. M., Stinchfield, R., Gonzales-Castaneda, R., Finch, A. J., Piehler, T. F., … & Hemze, A. (2018). Adolescent substance abuse treatment: A review of evidence-based research. In Leukefeld, C.G., & Gullotta, T. P. (Eds.), Adolescent Substance Abuse (pp. 141–171). New York: Springer.