The authors introduce the problem as being with wide-reaching implications, regarding the treatment of street youths and young adults. Mortality rates and drug addiction rates among youths is highly tied to poverty, health care costs, and other social problems. Finding a way to prevent these street youths from a life of addiction and lost productivity is an important preventative factor in breaking down social barriers. The authors decided to study at-risk youths’ with a cohort design in Vancouver. The participants taking part in the study were recruited on the basis of their desire to enroll in health-related services. Over the course of the study, the authors recruited street youths and young adults (N=478); with questionnaires, they measured the factors that were positively, independently, and significantly associated with the desire to enroll in addiction treatment. Their results indicate that history of overdose, previous incarceration, cocaine use, and history of injection drug use all achieve this significance level.
In their discussion, the authors note some reasons to be optimistic and some to be pessimistic. On one hand, youths who had used crack, cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine tended to participate in some form of addiction treatment; on the other hand, the majority of substance abuse youths relapse within a year after their treatment. They also note the association between injection drug use and enrollment in treatment as being explained by access to needle exchange programs, which include secondary services such as referrals, counseling, and residential treatment facilities. Histories of overdose, which are also linked by this study to tendency to seek addiction treatment services, also seem to increase this likelihood of treatment because of referrals by medical staff. In addition, an emergency situation may call the attention of