UVic home to new provincial centre for addictions research

The BC Addictions Foundation is providing the University of Victoria and its partners with $10 million—the university’s biggest research donation ever—to operate a research centre focused solely on addictions.

The centre for addictions research of BC (CAR-BC) is based on a partnership agreement with the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the University of Northern British Columbia. As such, its expertise will be province-wide.

“Up until now, when it came to addictions, there wasn’t an opportunity to co-ordinate all of the research efforts in BC,” says Leah Hollins, the foundation’s chair. “We picked UVic to head the centre because of its strong foundation in interdisciplinary research, most notably through UVic’s centre for youth and society, as well as its solid background in conducting community-based research. With UVic at the helm we hope to encourage more people to enter the field of addictions research.”

The centre’s mandate includes a range of addictions including substance abuse and problem gambling.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to consolidate many activities in the addiction field and advance our understanding in the area, particularly when it comes to youth,” explains UVic psychologist Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater, CAR-BC’s founding director and the co-director of UVic’s centre for youth and society.

The centre is already underway—it has an advisory board composed of university, community and government partners and is creating research units at each of the partner universities.

BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall is a member of the advisory board and the former president and CEO of the Ontario Addiction Research Foundation. “BC, with its substantial and particular challenges has needed such a centre for at least a decade. I am really pleased to see its creation. There is a huge potential here and the centre will be its catalyst.”

CAR-BC will facilitate the networking that is needed to conduct well-coordinated population health research on the causes, prevention and treatment of addictions. This will include expertise in the biomedical cause of addictions, the social cultural dimensions of addictions particularly related to youth and aboriginal health, and health service delivery to remote populations. The mandate for the centre’s inaugural year is research into fetal alcohol syndrome, the examination of addictions related to mental illness, and the prevention of addiction among youth.

Along with Leadbeater, there are two other UVic faculty on the advisory board. Board chair Dr. Irving Rootman teaches in the faculty of human and social development and is UVic’s Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Distinguished Scholar. Dr. Martin Taylor is the university’s vice president, research.

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Keywords: addiction

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