Beyond a Dreamcatcher: Improving services for Indigenous justice involved youth with substance use challenges

This interactive workshop will present the findings of ‘Beyond a Dreamcatcher: Improving services for Indigenous justice involved youth with substance use challenges - A youth-led study’.

Between 2017 and 2019, 11 Indigenous youth researchers (members of McCreary’s Youth Research Academy), co-designed and conducted a study into how to better support justice-involved Indigenous youth with substance use challenges. Over 300 Indigenous youth around the province participated. They identified barriers youth face to entering and successfully completing substance use treatment, as well as supports that are helpful for youth facing substance use challenges.

The findings from this project serve to highlight that programs and services need to take a holistic and culturally sensitive approach to substance use treatment that includes consideration of youth’s mental and physical well-being. Indigenous participants in the project spoke of the need to recognise the interconnection between mind and body, and of the importance of supportive relationships for youth experiencing challenges with substance use.

As a way to share the findings from this project with policy-makers and service-providers, a Snakes and Ladders board game was created by Indigenous youth researchers. The purpose of the game is to successfully complete substance use treatment by reaching the Finish square. As workshop participants play the game, they will encounter ‘Snakes’ which represent some of the barriers Indigenous youth across BC identified and ‘Ladders’ which represent supports youth found helpful.

The game will be facilitated by the Indigenous youth researchers who will pose discussion questions and share additional information as participants play the game.

Target Audience



A3 Friday 12:30 PM - 1:55 PM

Secure your spot now.

 Add To My Workshops


  • McCreary Centre Society
    Katie Horton

    I am submitting on behalf of McCreary Centre Society's Youth Research Academy (YRA). The YRA is a group of youth aged 16 to 24 with experience of the government care system. Members of the YRA are trained to conduct research projects of interest to youth in and from government care and the agencies that serve them.