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Research Program

“If we want to effectively deliver drug and alcohol education to young people, then we need to hear their voices and listen to their experiences. Embedding different perspectives in the design of our work is so important to our team” – Emily Deans, Research, Strategy & Design Coordinator, Youth Solutions


Youth Solutions regularly engages with young people through qualitative research. The purpose of our research program is to ensure that young people are actively involved in the design of project content and it also provides a platform for young people to be advocating for their own support needs around alcohol and other drugs.

Youth Solutions’ research program is supported by a broader research advisory group made up of members from the University of Sydney and Western Sydney University. This collaborative working group was created in late 2018 to assist Youth Solutions in increasing it’s research capacity.

Investigators: Prof Jioji Ravulo, Dr Emily Deans, Dr Elizabeth Conroy, A/ Prof Ilse Blignault, Prof Anthony Shakeshaft  

Research Officer: Jason Lal 

Research Volunteer: Joseph Abdo (Bi-Lingual Cross Cultural Clinical Consultant) 

Get involved: Current opportunities

  • A qualitative study exploring the barriers on Pacific young people’s help seeking attitudes and behaviours 

The aim of this project is to generate new knowledge to support alcohol and other drug community services in understanding how to include Pacific perspectives in service design and to provide culturally safe referral pathways and resources.

Participant Information Sheet | Consent Form

Project Lead: Dr Emily Deans | Research, Strategy & Design Coordinator | emily@youthsolutions.com.au

Project Support: Jason Lal | Research Officer | jason@youthsolutions.com.au

Funding Declaration: SWSLHD Drug Health Services


  • Understanding the needs of local youth to inform drug and alcohol prevention and harm reduction services: A qualitative study 

This project involved qualitative interviews and focus groups with 30 young people recruited from alcohol and other drug and mental health settings and the broader SWS community about the substances that are currently causing concern among young people and the psychosocial factors that shape young people’s involvement in alcohol and other drugs.

Funding Declaration: Western Sydney University, SWSLHD Drug Health Services

Publication: Deans E, Ravulo J, Blignault I, Conroy E. Understanding the needs of local youth to inform drug and alcohol prevention and harm reduction services: A qualitative study. Health Promot J Australia. 2020:00:1-9. https://doi.org/10.1002/hpja.393 

A further 15 participants were recruited to support Youth Solutions ongoing commitment to understanding the needs of service users.

Funding Declaration: Camden Council

Report: Understanding the alcohol and other drug needs of young people living in Camden

  • ‘We are already facing adversity’: LGBTIQA+ youth perspectives on the appropriateness of alcohol and other drug resources

This project involved qualitative interviews with 15 young people recruited from the LGBTIQA+ community about the appropriateness of alcohol and other drug prevention and harm reduction resources. The findings from this research study were used to develop a video resource for use in our health education workshops. The video focuses on the drug cannabis, providing helpful harm reduction information for young people in our community. The resource also highlights the warning signs for us to watch for that might indicate a friend or family member is developing a tolerance to cannabis.





Funding Declaration: The AURORA Group 

  • Youth Justice Project 

This project involved qualitative focus groups with 30 young people currently transitioning through the NSW Youth Justice System about the substances that have caused them concern and the socio-cultural factors that have shaped their involvement in drug use. We are currently working on two papers for publication which we hope will support the AOD sector in providing support and advocacy for vulnerable youth populations.

Funding Declaration: SWSLHD Drug Health Services, University of Wollongong 

About us

Youth Solutions is a youth drug and alcohol prevention and health promotion charity.

For more information about our work, visit the What We Do page or check out our projects.

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