Identifying effective interventions for addressing social issues and disparities faced by Indigenous individuals with substance use problems in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic
In the context of ongoing settler-colonialism and systemic racism, Indigenous Peoples have elevated risk for health and socioeconomic consequences from pandemics. A clear priority concern is the pandemic’s impact on those who have or are at risk of developing substance use problems. In addition, the needs of youth are a priority among Indigenous Nations. Many Indigenous families within Canada are experiencing enormous stress, while also experiencing greater disconnection from community supports and resources. Likewise, organizations serving Indigenous youth are struggling to understand the most important needs and resources of the communities and families they serve. This project, in collaboration with an Indigenous-serving substance use treatment organization and a First Nations school, seeks to understand the most important needs of potential interventions among First Nations and Inuit families in eastern Canada. With knowledge obtained from this research, these partners will be able to identify potential interventions to best meet the needs of the youth and families they serve–particularly for supporting youth who have or at risk for developing substance use problems. We also expect to understand key concerns concerning service utilization in the context of ongoing settler-colonialism (including recent events such as the identification of children buried at former residential schools). A strength of the proposal is that it is rooted in local initiatives-thus maximizing relevance of findings-but also includes data collection with multiple diverse First Nations/Inuit communities-thus increasing the relevance of findings across Indigenous communities across Canada.