Leading researchers get $8 million boost to combat opioid crisis

published on February 7, 2017 by Ashley Wadhwani - BC Local News in BC Local News

The B.C. Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) receives a multi-million dollar boost from the province and St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, to fund research intended to combat the province’s opioid crisis.

Health Minister Terry Lake announced the new funding Tuesday morning at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.

“The BCCSU is already establishing itself as a world-class research centre, and has begun developing recommendations, resources and training that will help us improve the care and treatments for people struggling with substance use issues,” Lake said.

The new funding follows an announcement of $5 million in September, used as an endowment to recruit leading researchers and for the building of the new centre. Tuesday’s funding will be broken down as $5 million for further endowments, and about $2 million per year for ongoing operations of the centre, located in the Downtown Eastside.

Now that the province has addressed the emergency crisis of overdoses, through overdose prevention sites and further funding for first-responders, it’s time to look at what measures need to happen next, Lake said.

“While we continue to expand our harm reduction strategies, we have not forgotten an equally important area that will help us get to the bottom of this crisis, which is long-term treatment and prevention,” he said.

Hopes are that the centre will guide the province in navigating effective ways of combating opioid addiction, based on “the strength of evidence.”

Dr. Evan Wood, the new head of BCCSU said when it comes to research, looking to how the B.C. Centre for Excellence on HIV/AIDS handled the HIV crisis in the 1980s and ’90s is key.

“The centre is focused on education, research, and care,” he said.

“This centre is modelled after the successful BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, who integrated these [three] pillars,” he said.

View the full article