CA Bridge is committed to providing evidence-based treatment to youth experiencing substance use disorder.

There are unique challenges faced by young people who use drugs. Adolescents and young adults are experiencing fast-growing rates of opioid overdose and hospitalization, yet have the lowest rates of access to treatment. A landmark randomized controlled study demonstrated that our Emergency Departments are uniquely positioned to reverse these trends and provide a lifeline to people facing addiction. This project will demonstrate the effectiveness of youth-focused outreach and education for substance use disorder treatment to better serve this vulnerable population.

Project Activities

Start-Up and Capacity Building

In the first phase of this project, CA Bridge will build out an implementation plan for the 18-month duration of the Youth MAT Pilot. We will establish a youth advisory council, conduct a needs assessment of four pilot hospitals with Young People In Recovery (YPR) leads to understand the existing infrastructure and develop data collection procedures for quarterly submission by hospitals. The four pilot sites include Prescribe Safe Monterey County, UC Davis, Children’s Hospital Orange County, and Eisenhower Health.

Outreach and Education

In collaboration with YPR chapter leads, CA Bridge will develop an outreach plan defining the target population, community partnerships, providers, and institutions to reach. The outreach plan may have specific focuses within the youth population. CA Bridge will tailor existing materials to produce youth-specific caregiver and provider-facing material about youth consent, MAT considerations, and stigma reduction. CA Bridge will also host training sessions focused on substance use disorder treatment in youth populations in Fall 2021.

Youth Service Delivery

This project will support youth service delivery by focusing on the following areas:

  • Engagement, screening, assessment, and referral including building relationships with youth and their families, identifying youth with opioid use disorder, and connecting them with services to reduce opioid and stimulant misuse and overdose.
  • Navigation and case management involving a collaborative process of planning, facilitation, care coordination, linkages, evaluation, and advocacy for youth to access a range of available services supporting prevention, reduction, intervention, and recovery from opioid and stimulant misuse.
  • Increasing access to Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) for youth by modifying protocols for prescribing for youth, expanding provider knowledge, and ensuring naloxone distribution efforts are targeting youth.
  • Youth-specific behavioral interventions in which hospital champions and substance use navigators collaborate to conduct youth-focused brief intervention and motivational interviewing and to refer patients to resources, including peer support and peer-led life skills curriculum. 
  • Family engagement and services including evidence-based engagement, education, family education, family counseling, and parent support.
  • Youth-specific recovery support and services including individual or group peer support, recovery support that removes barriers to treatment, pro-social activities, education/school supports, supported employment, recovery housing, youth leadership development, and other recovery services.

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