The Impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic on youth substance use problems and services: Knowledge synthesis with Indigenous Nations and organizations
The COVID‑19 pandemic has had a serious impact on Indigenous Peoples across Canada. One area of concern pertains to the exacerbation of substance use problems and the disruption of substance use services for Indigenous youth. This study seeks to understand the impact of the pandemic on substance use risk and resilience among Indigenous youth, via a knowledge synthesis including (a) a rapid review of academic research and other available materials (such as news articles and reports) and (b) interviews and Talking Circles with Indigenous communities and service providers in eastern Canada. The study conception stems from the Indigenous Working Group (IWG) of the Quebec-Atlantic Node of the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse. The project is a partnership with two First Nations communities, an Indigenous SU treatment facility, and other partners from Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Qualitative interviews and Talking Circles (via video-conferencing technology, as necessary) with key stakeholders, clinicians, and youth will be conducted in order to understand key needs, challenges, and strengths of Indigenous youth in response to the pandemic. The project will include seeking to understand the pandemic’s impact on access to culturally-safe services, including access to Indigenous traditional healing practices. The study will be guided by a Two-Eyed Seeing framework, which seeks to understand both Indigenous and Western biomedical perspectives. All research will be conducted in consultation with an Indigenous research advisory council. Data will be analyzed using principles of thematic content analysis. Knowledge from this study will be disseminated to Indigenous Nations and organizations across Canada, as well as to federal and provincial agencies.