AOD project | substance use services

The substance use services component of the BC alcohol and other drug monitoring project seeks to determine the range of treatment services provided by both private and public funding in British Columbia and the nature of problems experienced by those entering treatment. 

When combined with other components of the AOD project, the substance use services component seeks to support a comparison between the estimated need for services in the community and the available treatment capacity. In particular, the identification of changing patterns of need came be linked to shifts in the patterns of alcohol and other drug consumption. Finally, this data can serve as an additional vehicle for the health authorities and other treatment providers to communicate to a broad audience the positive changes resulting from new investments in substance use treatment.

Methodology for needs-based planning

CISUR researchers are working alongside the BC Ministry of Health and the BC health authorities to develop needs-based planning to assess potential demand for substance use services in British Columbia. This project aims to better understand current use of services across the province in order to identify gaps and opportunities to enhance the continuum of care. Demand is estimated by triangulating several data sources within health service delivery areas. These sources include: (1) hospital morbidity attributable to alcohol and illicit drugs, (2) mortality attributable to alcohol and illicit drugs, (3) physician visits for alcohol, illicit and prescription drugs based on data from the Medical Service Plan (MSP), (4) discharges of in-patients from acute care hospitals for alcohol and illicit drugs based on the Discharge Abstract Database (DAD), and (5) alcohol sales data for estimates of alcohol dependence counts.

Furthermore, building on our previous research using the BC211 data, we will partner with Island Health to conduct a comprehensive survey of public and private substance use service agencies in BC to better understand variations in the types, continuum of services, and demand for treatment. 


Scott Macdonald
Amanda Slaunwhite
Chantele Joordens
Clifton Chow

David Marsh (previous)