Government of Canada invests in collaborative research tackling prescription drug abuse

published on February 16, 2016 in Government of Canada

Innovative national study to improve the health of people living with opioid dependence

February 16, 2016 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, today announced funding for research aimed at improving the health of people who abuse prescription drugs. More and more Canadians are putting their health at risk by intentionally taking medication, such as opioids, in a way that hasn’t been recommended by a doctor. The Government of Canada, through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), is investing $4.4 million to support four large regional teams comprised of researchers, service providers, and decision makers to tackle this public health issue. The teams based in British Columbia, the Prairies, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes collaboratively developed the first national study Optimizing patient centered-care: a pragmatic randomized control trial comparing models of care in the management of prescription opioid misuse (OPTIMA), conducted through the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM).

The OPTIMA study will compare and evaluate two treatments for prescription opioid dependence, methadone, which is the current standard of care in Canada, and buprenorphine/naloxone, often the therapy of choice in the United States. The study will address real-world treatment conditions, including patient preference for short-term vs. long-term treatment with medication, and support patient-centered approaches informing decision-making processes. The comparison of the effectiveness of the two treatment models in reducing prescription opioid use will generate practice-based evidence that will be extremely valuable for informing patient care and improving overall health outcomes in Canada.

The teams highlighted today were established under CRISM, which was launched in 2015 to support national collaborative research on reducing negative effects of prescription drug abuse, substance misuse and addiction, including overdose and death.

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