Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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Case Study: YSAS (Youth Support and Advocacy Service)

ProjectNext generation youth ‘Alcohol and Drug’ services in Victoria

Amount$290,000 over two years


ProgramPast Programs | Health

Rural and regional Victoria Enable treatment providers across Victoria to incorporate the latest technology and new evidence-based interventions for drug problems into their services
Building organisational capacity Provide more effective services through a network of regional youth drug treatment leaders
Extending opportunity Facilitate easier access to drug treatment for young people and families in regional Victoria
Collaboration and partnership 32 Victorian youth drug treatment providers; Deakin University; Young and Well Collaborative Research Centre

Improving drug treatment services for young people in regional Victoria

Too many rural and regional young people are not accessing treatment for their drug and alcohol problems. Geographic barriers and concerns about anonymity are particular issues in small rural communities. YSAS developed a multi-pronged service that combined: training, building a coordinated regional network, developing and piloting a new intervention for addictive behavior in partnership with Deakin University, and building knowledge and confidence in the use of technology to assist the practice of youth health providers.

Image Angela Simpson, Dom Ennis, and Kate Hall (YSAS/Deakin Project Team)


  • YSAS and Deakin University developed, piloted and evaluated the ERIC intervention (Emotion Regulation & Impulse Control), a structured, evidence-based intervention addressing the underlying issues that lead to addictive behaviour.
  • The ERIC intervention was adapted for and with regional youth drug treatment services and young people using those services.
  • YSAS coordinated and resourced a network of regional practice leaders to build the capacity of youth drug treatment services in regional communities across Victoria.
  • In partnership with The Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, YoDAA (Youth Drug & Alcohol Advice), the YSAS online platform, provided training and ongoing advice on how technologies can be utilised to improve therapeutic outcomes for young people in regional drug treatment services.
  • As a result, regional youth health providers have increased knowledge and confidence in the use of technology to enhance their practice with young people and address service barriers and, as result of knowing more about services available, a greater number of young people and their families will have a better understanding of access points for seeking more intensive drug treatment in their local community.
  • Project outcomes are being shared with all youth drug treatment organisations in Victoria, State and local governments, research centres and peak bodies in the youth, drug treatment and associated sectors.


“We wanted young people involved in the development process to ensure that ERIC addresses and is relevant to their needs.” Dr Kate Hall, Deakin University