Skip to main content

What is the impact on clients and service providers of the increase in virtual services and supports for substance use or concurrent disorders?

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, in partnership with the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, the Canadian Psychological Association and Canada Health Infoway, is conducting key interviews to understand that impact.

We need your help.

We would like to speak with anyone who currently provides virtual services or supports to clients for substance use or concurrent disorders. The results of this study will inform policy makers, service providers, and the substance use and mental health community.

Virtual services and supports can be any service accessed online or by phone, including through telemedicine, video conferencing or an app. Eligible practitioners include primary care providers, counsellors, those referring patients to resources or treatment, harm reduction workers, community-based practitioners and those working with marginalized, rural, remote or Indigenous populations.

If you or someone you know is eligible and interested in completing a 60-minute phone or video interview, or if you have any questions about the study, please contact Sue Cragg at

If you would like more information about our work, please visit the CCSA website.


Quels sont les effets d’une plus grande offre de services et de soutiens virtuels en cas d’usage de substances ou de troubles concomitants sur les clients et les fournisseurs de services?

Le Centre canadien sur les dépendances et l’usage de substances (CCDUS), en partenariat avec le Centre de santé mentale Royal Ottawa, la Société canadienne de psychologie et Inforoute Santé du Canada, mène des entrevues pour mieux comprendre ces effets.

Et nous avons besoin de votre aide.

Nous aimerions parler avec des fournisseurs de services ou de soutiens virtuels pour l’usage de substances ou les troubles concomitants. Les résultats ainsi obtenus seront utiles aux décideurs, aux fournisseurs de services et au milieu de la santé mentale et de l’usage de substances.  

Les services et soutiens virtuels sont des services auxquels on accède en ligne ou par téléphone (télémédecine, vidéoconférence ou application). Nous sollicitons notamment la participation de fournisseurs de soins primaires, de conseillers, d’intervenants qui dirigent les clients vers des ressources ou des services de traitement, d’intervenants en réduction des méfaits, de praticiens en milieu communautaire et d’intervenants qui travaillent avec des populations marginalisées, rurales, éloignées ou autochtones.

Si vous ou une de vos connaissances êtes admissible et pourriez nous accorder une soixantaine de minutes pour une entrevue (par téléphone ou vidéo), ou si vous avez des questions concernant l’étude, veuillez écrire à Sue Cragg à

Pour en savoir plus sur notre travail, consultez le site Web du CCDUS.

Original Post

CCSA's latest research shows that people using virtual supports and services for substance use are generally satisfied with the available services. Two-thirds of people we surveyed were comfortable with meeting a healthcare provider virtually. Respondents also agreed that virtual access has helped to protect them from COVID-19. However, fewer than half said that virtual visits were just as good as in-person visits for building a relationship. Their experience differs depending on their age and gender.

To better understand how people perceive and experience virtual supports and services, the Canadian Centre for Substance Use and Addiction, Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, Canadian Psychological Association and Canada Health Infoway conducted a national study. Between February and April 2021, they surveyed the people who used virtual treatment, counselling, education, apps or peer support for substance use, substance use disorder or concurrent disorders and explored the openness to use these supports by those who had not. They also talked with the practitioners who provided these virtual supports and services.

The full report from this survey is now available in Client and Practitioner Experiences and Perceptions of Virtual Services and Supports for Substance Use or Concurrent Disorders During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Accompanying the new report are four reports in short, which explore overall satisfaction, platforms and security, building relationships, and connectivity and equipment.

Some of the barriers identified to accessing these services included a lack of equipment, internet access or lack of a quiet, private or safe space to access virtual services and supports from.

CCSA's research results indicate that to further develop sustainable and effective virtual services after the pandemic, policy and support for infrastructure are needed. A flexible and tailored approach to providing both virtual and in-person services and supports will also be necessary. This support must be based on evidence and consider both clients’ and practitioners’ experiences.

For more information and questions about the survey, please contact Sue Cragg at If you would like more information about their work, please visit the CCSA website.

Last edited by Registered Member

Add Reply


This website has been funded by a grant from the Government of Ontario.
The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Ontario.
Link copied to your clipboard.