Substance Use Research in Canada

HRI drives innovation and applied research to improve mental health and substance use services in Canada. We strive toward a society where no life is held back or cut short by mental illness or substance use issues.

Our research improves treatment interventions for people living with substance use issues and disorders. Equally, our work influences the rapid uptake of evidence through knowledge translation, training and implementation.

We close the gap between research and practice. In short, our work helps more people, sooner.

Our substance use research program is led by Dr. James MacKillop, HRI Senior Scientist. Dr. MacKillop is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Translational Addiction Research and holds the Peter Boris Chair in Addictions Research at McMaster University. Additionally, he is Director of the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research, and Director of the Michael E. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research. 

Recognized as a leading addiction expert, Dr. MacKillop presents perspectives from psychology, psychiatry, cognitive neuroscience, behavioural genetics and clinical research. Then he integrates these perspectives to enhance our understanding of substance use issues. Dr. MacKillop also works with other experts and researchers to advance science that will improve treatment for Canadians with substance use disorders.

Characterization of individuals receiving treatment for substance use and addiction

Led by HRI and McMaster University, this program of research explores how clinical symptoms may be linked to an individual’s experience of addiction.

Optimizing addiction screening and assessment tools to improve treatment

In this study, researchers are exploring how common screening and assessment tools can be optimized for people with addiction to improve treatment planning and outcomes.

Understanding how Alcoholics Anonymous promotes recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder

This study aims to understand the roles that impulsivity and social networks play in recovery success among people who participate in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

Help us to improve treatment for our friends and loved ones living with substance use issues.