$1.8 million grant for creation of research node on drug misuse

Dr. Julie Bruneau, clinical researcher at the Research Centre of the Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), is awarded a major grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) as Principal Investigator of the Quebec and Maritime Component of the Canadian Research Initiative on Substance Misuse. The funding provided amounts to $1.8 million over the next five years.

The Minister of Health for Canada, Rona Ambrose, announced on Friday the creation of a new national intervention network, the Canadian Initiative on Substance Abuse. This investment of $7.2 million will go towards the establishment of a consortium of four research teams: Quebec-Maritimes (Université de Montréal), Ontario (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health), Prairie (University of Alberta) and British Columbia (University of British Columbia). Inspired by the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the United States, it has the mandate to accelerate the transfer of scientific knowledge towards the development of new treatments, including pharmaceutical approaches and psychological interventions for drug users.

"The goal is to generate knowledge that will transform the practices and interventions in substance abuse, from prevention to treatment," said Dr. Julie Bruneau, professor at Université de Montréal's Department of Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine and head of the CHUM department of general medicine. The initiative focuses on illicit drugs and non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs. "Our team includes researchers from several universities and institutions, clinicians, community members and policy makers, which will accelerate the implementation of novel practices emerging from evidence-based research. It is also a great way to reduce the stigma surrounding addiction and the perception that nothing can be done about it.” In addition, this initiative will help to develop synergies with other Canadian teams, and has the potential to drastically improve the health and well-being of people affected by drug abuse, as well as their families and loved ones.

Substance abuse is defined as the excessive use of drugs, putting people at risk of developing drug related harms including dependence. This is a serious public health problem. In Canada, 700,000 people suffer from substance use disorder, mainly cocaine, other stimulants such as amphetamines, and cannabis. In Quebec, 9% of high school students are using cannabis at least once a week and 5% abuse it, according to the latest report from the Institut de la statistique du Québec.

If remarkable research advances have helped to identify novel targets and models for effective interventions for drug misuse prevention and treatment, the rate at which these innovations have reached persons living with substance misuse has been slow and erratic. Several research projects will emerge in the coming years through the infrastructure initiated by the Canadian Research Initiative on substance misuse, including the targeting of prevention and treatment of people with the abuse of prescription drugs.

Source: CHUM Research Centre (CRCHUM)


About Julie Bruneau

Dr Julie Bruneau is Professor of Family and Emergency Medicine at Université de Montréal. She is currently Head of the Primary Care Department at the Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM). She leads the Québec – Maritimes team of Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM), which includes 61 researchers. She is recognized as a leader in addiction medicine in Canada, and was central in the development of the Opiate Substitution treatment (OST) and Syringe Distribution Program networks in Quebec. Her work contributed to the wider societal debate on syringe access and harm reduction strategies.

About the CRCHUM

The University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre (CRCHUM) improves the health of adults through a high-quality academic research continuum which, by improving our understanding of etiological and pathogenic mechanisms, fosters the development, implementation and assessment of new preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. The CRCHUM provides a training environment to ensure the development of new generations of researchers committed to research excellence. crchum.chumontreal.qc.ca

About the University of Montreal

Officially known as Université de Montréal, the university enjoys an enviable position as a leading research institution both in North America and the French-speaking world. Its role as a hub between these spheres enables it to develop unique and dynamic research networks that are driven by world renowned scientists, drawing collaboration with the globe's most innovative organizations. At a local level, the university is committed to building on the Montreal region's unique strengths in science and technology, encompassing fields such as aerospace engineering, nanoscale chemistry and software design, and has therefore promoted strategic relationships with public and private organizations. www.umontreal.ca


French-speaking media

Isabelle Girard

Communications Advisor


Tel.: +1 514 890-8000 ext. 12725


English and foreign language media

William Raillant-Clark

International Press Attaché

Université de Montréal

Tel.: +1 514 343-7593