UVic research centre lauded for public policy impact

- Suzanne Ahearne

A University of Victoria research centre that’s helping reshape policies to reduce alcohol-related illness, disability and death has won a national award for its work.

UVic’s Centre for Addictions Research (CARBC) is the recipient of the first-ever Leadership Award from Research Canada, a national alliance of health research institutes, hospitals, health authorities, charities and foundations, and health-related private sector companies.

The award recognizes work done by researchers to educate policymakers, the media and the public about the social and economic benefits of health research. Tim Stockwell, CARBC director, received the award as part of the Prix Galien and HRF Medal of Honour Award Ceremony in Toronto, Nov. 19.

“Research Canada is extraordinarily impressed by the culture of health research advocacy that permeates CARBC,” says Deborah Gordon-El-Bihbety, Research Canada’s president and CEO. “Its focus on knowledge translation and exchange demonstrates the transformative power of health research in advancing a culture of evidence-based decision-making.”

One example is the changes made to BC liquor laws (taking effect April 1, 2015) based on recommendations on minimum pricing and alcohol concentration pricing proposals submitted by CARBC, designed to protect BC’s youth and reduce harms associated with alcohol abuse.

CARBC researchers provided evidence that drinkers respond to price changes and that pricing strategies are one of the most effective ways to reduce the more than 80,000 alcohol-related crimes, 22,875 hospital visits and 1,255 deaths (2012) from injuries and illnesses caused by alcohol in BC each year.

The impact CARBC has had on alcohol-associated policies designed to decrease illness, injury, disability and death is just part of the reason why it has been presented with the inaugural Research Canada Leadership Award.

Among the many other areas where CARBC research has influenced policy: impaired driving laws; managed alcohol programs for those with chronic alcohol problems; and safety and access to health services for sex industry workers.

UVic’s Centre for Addictions Research (CARBC) is a network of researchers and groups dedicated to the study of substance use and addiction to inform improved public policy and support community-wide efforts to promote health and reduce harm.


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Keywords: Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, policy

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