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Centre de recherche
Monday, October 5 2015
Press release

Initiative to prevent misuse of psychoactive substances from the preteen years through adulthood

MONTREAL, October 5, 2015 Patricia Conrod and Benoît Mâsse, researchers at CHU Sainte-Justine and professors at Université de Montréal, will be instrumental for the execution of the Canadian Research Initiative on Substance Misuse (CRISM) announced by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) on May 1, 2015. Supported by a $7.2 million from the CIHR over a 5-year period, the national initiative aims to translate scientific knowledge into new methods for prevention and treatment of substance misuse.

Intervention and prevention of addiction are crucial priorities which are complex to address. For them to be effective, they require that evidence-based approaches be used with a proper understanding of the biological, psychological and social factors involved, considering the major impact of social and cultural environments. Within the scope of the CRISM Quebec-Maritimes cluster, Patricia Conrod will be leading the design of research protocols, while Benoît Mâsse will be providing methodological expertise.

The role that Patricia Conrod will be playing for the cluster – including for the first projects of the CRISM initiative – is unique in that the research work she carries in Canada will promote a continuum of prevention in the most at risk individuals from their preteen years through adulthood, stretching from pediatric CHU Sainte-Justine all the way to adult CHUM university hospital centers. In addition, Conrod is co-developer of the North American ENIGMA Addiction Working Group, which seeks to understand the biological causes and consequences of a variety of addictions. She is also among the designers of the Preventure prevention program, a psychosocial intervention focused on empowering young people for them to gain the ability to manage their behavior and achieve their life goals – through the integration of psycho-educational approaches and both motivational and cognitive-behavioral therapies.

In his capacity of head of the CHU Sainte-Justine clinical research unit, Benoît Mâsse will be contributing his expertise in biostatistics and novel data capture and management platforms. The unit was recommended by auditors on the basis of its track-record of infrastructure implementation that enables the design and execution of large multi-center studies, in addition to the unit’s demonstrated strengths in data management. Mâsse is also associate director of one of the SUPPORT Units of the Quebec Strategy for Patient-oriented Research (SPOR-Quebec).

Substance dependence – including the misuse of opioid pain killers, cannabis, cocaine, alcohol and other drugs – is a major health issue in Canada, exacting an enormous toll in terms of social disintegration, health care costs, disease burden, poor quality of life, unemployment and crime. In Canada, 700,000 people suffer from substance use disorder. 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. The CRISM was developed by the CIHR in collaboration with the Canadian National Anti-Drug Strategy.

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About CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center

CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center is a leading mother-child research institution affiliated with Université de Montréal. It brings together more than 200 research investigators, including over 90 clinician-scientists, as well as 360 graduate and postgraduate students focused on finding innovative prevention means, faster and less invasive treatments, as well as personalized approaches to medicine. The Center is part of CHU Sainte-Justine, which is the largest mother-child center in Canada and second most important pediatric center in North America. More on research.chusj.org

CHU Sainte-Justine

Communications, CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center


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