EENet is pleased to share the Drug Treatment Funding Program (DTFP) Ontario Systems Projects video, “Working Together for Change.”
In a series of interviews with DTFP stakeholders, the video tells the story of coming together to lay the groundwork for a substance use treatment system that is more connected and evidence-informed.
The video was a truly collaborative effort, and EENet wishes to thank all participants for their contributions!
Trauma Matters: Guidelines are out!
New guidelines are available to support organizations that provide substance use treatment services for women. Trauma Matters will help you understand the interconnections of trauma and substance use, and provide better care for substance-involved women who have experienced trauma.
The guidelines were developed in consultation with service providers, experts, and women with lived experience from across Ontario.
Read Trauma Matters now!
Trauma Guidelines project team shares its message
The Trauma and Substance Use project team has produced Trauma Matters: Guidelines for trauma‐informed practices in women’s substance use services. This document was produced through extensive research and consultation with experts on the subject and people with lived experience. It will be released on March 31, 2013.
On March 7, the project team met with stakeholders and decision-makers in Ontario and across Canada at the Ontario DTFP Knowledge Exchange Event. Project lead Nancy Bradley and lead researcher Janine Gates (pictured right speaking at the event) gave a brief overview of the project.
They explained that trauma-informed practices are consistent with and will build on other best practices that substance use treatment services are already using. Putting trauma-informed practices in place will require a cultural shift, as well as support and commitment from all system levels.
Trauma Matters: Guidelines for trauma-informed practices in women’s substance use services
The prevalence of trauma among substance-involved women is high. The impact of trauma is profound and wide-reaching.
Trauma-informed practices take into account an understanding of the prevalence and impact of trauma and integrate that understanding into all components of an organization.
The guiding principles of trauma-informed practices are:
- Choice and control
- Relational and collaborative approaches
- Strengths-based empowerment modalities
Trauma Matters provides guidelines that help service providers to understand the interconnections of trauma and substance use, and to provide improved care for substance-involved women who have experienced trauma. The Ontario DTFP Trauma and Substance Use project team has developed the guidelines to support organizations that provide substance use treatment services for women.
The Ontario DTFP Trauma and Substance Use project team is funded by Health Canada’s Drug Treatment Funding Program (DTFP). Nancy Bradley is the Project Lead and Executive Director of the Jean Tweed Centre and Janine Gates is the Project Consultant.
The project has been supported by an Advisory Committee of service providers and experts from across Ontario, and by the voices of women who have lived experience. Production of the Trauma Matters poster has been made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.
Watch the trauma and substance use webinar
On Thursday, February 21, 2012, EENet hosted a webinar on Women, Trauma, and Substance Use: Guidelines for Informed Practices, one of eleven Ontario DTFP Systems Projects.
The Ontario DTFP Trauma and Substance Use project team is developing guidelines to support organizations that provide substance use treatment services for women. The prevalence of trauma among substance-involved women is high. System-wide use of trauma-informed practices will help service providers to understand the interconnections of trauma and substance use, and to engage and provide improved care for substance-involved women.
Nancy Bradley, Project Lead and Director of the Jean Tween Centre, and Janine Gates, Project Consultant, focused on:
- An overview of the project
- What are trauma‐informed practices?
- How have guidelines been developed?
- Next steps
This webinar is the fourteenth in the Pan-Canadian: Health Canada DTFP webinar series, which connects stakeholders across provinces and territories as we work towards the shared goal of improving our substance use treatment systems.
Coming soon: Guidelines for trauma-informed practices
“My recovery [from substance use] really started to be solid when I realized the connections with trauma—before that, the trauma kept pulling me down.”
Focus group participant—Ontario, 2012
Over the past several years, the impacts of trauma and the interrelationships between trauma and women’s substance use have been well-identified by both research and clinical practice. Many service providers want to better understand how they can work more effectively with women who have experienced (or may have experienced) trauma. To give these service providers the knowledge, tools, and resources they need, guidelines for trauma-informed practices are in the final stage of development and will be disseminated in March 2013. The Trauma and Substance Use: Developing Guidelines for Informed Practices project is led by Nancy Bradley at the Jean Tweed Centre and guided by the knowledge and expertise of the its advisory committee and the consultant team.
The guidelines have been developed based on a comprehensive review of the literature. The input of women with lived experience of substance use and trauma, as well as subject area experts and Ontario service providers, has been critically important. The guidelines identify six core principles for trauma‐informed practice: acknowledgment, safety, trustworthiness, choice and control, relational/collaborative approaches, and strengths-based empowerment. They will give service providers an array of practical information about how those principles are integrated in trauma-informed practices in both clinical and organizational areas, and in both women-specific and mixed-gender settings.
The Hidden Epidemic
Trauma is prevalent in our society. Dr. Christine Courtois, a recognized expert in traumatology, has called trauma a “hidden epidemic.” The links between women’s substance use and their experiences of trauma have been well documented in research. For example, Dr. Catrina Brown of Dalhousie reports that, in one Canadian research study, 90% of women reported childhood or adult abuse histories in relation to their problematic use of alcohol.
Guidelines for trauma-informed services are being developed that will help Ontario substance use service providers to contribute more effectively to the recovery of women who have experienced trauma. The guidelines will be useful for all services – ranging from entry (such as assessment and withdrawal management) to community treatment – and will be applicable in both mixed-gender services and specialized women’s services.
Women who have had the opportunity to participate in trauma-informed services attest to their positive impact. “It is really important that trauma and addiction are together,” said one focus group participant recently. “I never connected the two before, but they go hand in hand.”
The Guidelines are being developed by a project team, managed by the Jean Tweed Centre and guided by an Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from substance use agencies and experts in trauma-informed practices. The draft guidelines are now being revised based on feedback from the Advisory Committee. In the fall, the document will be sent to several local and national stakeholders for further review.
Trauma and Substance Use project gains perspective
The Trauma and Substance Use: Developing Guidelines for Informed Practices project has completed a review of the literature on women, substance use, and trauma. The review identified evidence-informed practices in women’s substance use services, including both trauma-informed and trauma-specific services. Led by Nancy Bradley at the Jean Tweed Centre, the consulting team is conducting an analysis of the findings. Additional literature may be reviewed to address knowledge gaps that may be identified and/or to explore additional sources of information.
The project will develop guidelines that will support evidence-informed practices in substance use agencies where women who have experienced trauma receive substance use treatment services. The guidelines will address both women-specific and mixed gender settings, and will address both organizational and clinical practices. To ensure that the guidelines speak to the perspectives of women who have ‘lived experience,’ focus groups have been held by member agencies of the project Advisory Committee. The goal: to obtain input about women’s experiences in Ontario substance use services. Participants were asked about approaches and practices that have – and have not – been helpful, as well as their pathways to services, and barriers they’ve experienced. Over the next few months, the consulting team will integrate findings from the focus groups, and will continue its work developing the guidelines, in consultation with the Advisory Committee.
Trauma and Substance Use: Developing Guidelines for Informed Practices Project Update
January 24 2012
A review of the literature related to women, substance use, and trauma has been completed. The review identified best practices in women’s substance use services, including both trauma-informed and trauma-specific services. The consulting team is conducting an analysis of the finding. Additional literature may be reviewed to address knowledge gaps that may be identified and/or to explore additional sources of information.
We think it important to speak to the perspectives of women who have ‘lived experience’ about their experiences with substance use services. To that end, focus groups have been planned to obtain input about substance use service approaches and practices that have – and have not – been helpful, as well as the pathways and barriers experienced by participants. Although time was not initially set aside for focus groups in the project plan, Advisory Committee members have volunteered to gather input from women who have ‘lived experience’ of both trauma and substance use issues. Five agencies will each conduct a focus group and will document the findings; all five focus groups will be completed by March 21, 2012, and will utilize a standard facilitation guide and a consent form developed by the consulting team in consultation with Advisory Committee members. Findings will help to inform the development of guidelines for agencies where women who have experienced trauma receive substance use treatment services.
We have met with Sangeev Sridharan who will be evaluating all the Ontario DTFP projects. The meeting allowed us to begin to establish a good understanding of this project and working foundation for the months ahead.
Trauma and Substance Use: Developing Guidelines for Informed Practices project advisory group has demonstrated expertise in women’s treatment issues
An advisory group has been developed and Terms of Reference have been finalized. The advisory group is comprised of a cross section of representatives of Ontario’s substance abuse service system who have a demonstrated knowledge and expertise in women’s treatment issues related to trauma and substance use. A competitive process was undertaken to select the team of senior consultants that has been engaged to complete the project work.
The project work plan has been finalized and the project team is now in the process of conducting a literature review which will identify best practices in Canada and other jurisdictions.
The project will produce guidelines that will support the use of best practices in agencies where women who have experienced trauma receive substance use treatment services.