The Vancouver Injection Drug Users Study (VIDUS) is one of the longest-running community-recruited prospective cohort studies of people who inject drugs (PWID) in the world. Since 1996 VIDUS has enrolled more than 2,700 PWID and currently follows more than 1,000 HIV-negative PWID in Vancouver. VIDUS is a valuable data resource for a wide range of scientific research that aims to understand the natural history of injection drug use and inform the development of public health policies and interventions to reduce harms associated with injection drug use. VIDUS has contributed to a number of policy developments, including the expansion of needle exchange and distribution services and the evaluation of Insite, Vancouver's first medically supervised injecting site.

Similarly to the BC Centre on Substance Use’s other cohort studies (AIDS Care Cohort to Evaluate Exposure to Survival Services and At-Risk Youth Study), VIDUS participants complete both a questionnaire with an interviewer and a clinic visit with a nurse every six months. Interviews cover topics related to drug use patterns, HIV risk behaviour, health status, and access to health and social services. At each visit participants receive HIV and hepatitis C virus tests and urine drug screens. Pre- and post-test counselling and referral to community resources and services, as well as harm reduction education and supplies, are available to participants.


The umbrella objective of VIDUS cohort research is to inform the development of policies and interventions that seek to address harms associated with illicit drug use. Current VIDUS research focuses on the following specific objectives:

  • To examine the impact of prescription opioid misuse on injecting initiation and cessation, risk behaviours for HIV and other viruses, and non-fatal and fatal overdose in a setting with an active heroin market;
  • To better understand individual and social-structural factors that shape trajectories of injection drug use among adult PWID, including cessation and relapse into injection drug use as well as morbidity and mortality;
  • To compare health outcomes and other drug-related harms between populations of HIV-positive and HIV-negative PWID;
  • To evaluate various ‘naturally occurring’ interventions related to PWID that cannot be studied by a randomized controlled trial design; and
  • To form the basis for a range of multidisciplinary collaborative research in the area of substance use, including ethnographic and qualitative research, health economics, and laboratory science.


  • BC Association for People on Methadone (BCAPOM)
  • BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)
  • Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
  • Pivot Legal Society
  • Portland Hotel Society (PHS)
  • Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU)
  • Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH)
  • Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society (WAHRS)


  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
  • Open Society Foundations (OSF)
  • Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI)


To learn more about VIDUS, please contact us or visit our office.

Cristy Zonneveld, VIDUS Research Coordinator
Phone: (604) 685-6355
Email: [email protected]
Address: 439 Hastings St, Vancouver, BC
Hours: Monday–Thursday 8:30am–5:00pm

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Online Addiction Medicine Diploma: [email protected].