Challenges treating opioid-addicted B.C. youth prompt new guidelines

A news release from the B.C. Centre on Substance Use says treatment for youth must be developmentally and culturally appropriate and, while confidential, should also include family involvement when possible.

Special attention given to treatment of older teens about to age out of youth care

The B.C. Centre on Substance Use says one-fifth of B.C.'s opioid deaths are people aged 10 to 24 years. (Ben Shannon/CBC)

New guidelines aimed at improving treatment for opioid-addicted young people have been released by the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use.

A news release from the centre says treatment for youth must be developmentally and culturally appropriate and, while confidential, should also involve family where possible.

It says the guidelines are aimed at being as flexible, accessible and user friendly as possible, while offering all available drug and counselling options.

Special attention is given to treatment of older teens about to age out of youth care, with proposals to ensure those teens transition seamlessly to adult programs.

The centre says an absence of evidence-based guidelines and scarcity of youth-focused treatment programs have created challenges in B.C. when dealing with opioid addiction in young patients.

It says those challenges have had severe consequences because one-fifth of illicit opioid overdose deaths in the province are among young people aged 10 to 24.

Read more from CBC British Columbia