A photo of the TEF building at UVic
The Health and Wellness Building at UVic, home to CISUR's Victoria office

The Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR), formerly the Centre for Addictions Research of BC, is a network of individuals and groups dedicated to the study of substance use and addiction in support of community-wide efforts to promote health and reduce harm. Our research is used to inform a broad range of projects, reports, publications and initiatives aimed at providing all people in BC and beyond with access to happier, healthier lives, whether using substances or not.  In 2021, CISUR was named the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on Alcohol and Public Health Policy Research.

Since our inception in 2003, we have continued to gain international recognition for work based on our guiding principles of:

Improve wellbeing, reduce harms

Attention is required to both immediate factors (e.g. behavioural patterns and contexts) and distal factors
(e.g. social, economic, policy-related) to effectively prevent and address harms from substance use and
addictions across the life course. Recognition that some people will continue to use psychoactive substances and experience addictions is also critical, so strategies are needed to reduce harmful consequences, in addition to efforts that aim to directly reduce or prevent high-risk behaviours. Research that is of high quality and high public health relevance to local, national and international populations are prerequisites in support of this principle.

Conduct commercially independent, ethical scholarship

Commitment to solid ethical principles and transparency governing internal and external relationships and
financial management, the conduct of research and the communication of research findings is of utmost
importance. Protection from vested interests is crucial to ensure that research is conducted in the broader
public interest and to support public health. This will be enabled by excluding representatives of commercial interests (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and gaming entities) from CISUR membership, and not accepting direct research funding from such sources. Work with government or other funders will involve mindful consideration of political influence or other factors affecting any aspect of the research.

Prioritize collaborative relationships

Dynamic, collaborative relationships at multiple levels are essential for ensuring relevance of the research
across diverse experiences and outcomes of substance use and related interventions. Key relationships
include those with policymakers, nongovernmental and community organizations, researchers from many
disciplines, health and social practitioners, media, and the public including people with lived and living experience of substance use and those coping with addictions and other substance-related problems.

Address social equity, inclusion and justice issues

A commitment to the promotion of equity and fairness and the pursuit of social justice through attention to
the impact of the environmental context and social determinants that shape substance use and the development of health inequities is critical. A focus on the role that substance use and related policies
play in creating and driving inequalities is required to improve health and address disparities among
vulnerable populations. Special attention must be paid to addressing the negative impacts of colonization on Indigenous populations both overall and with respect to substance use.

Engage in informed discussion and debate

Open-mindedness and a commitment to fostering respectful discussion is a crucial part of the research
process among researchers, and is matched by a commitment to engage in public discussion and
debate through focused knowledge mobilization and knowledge exchange activities in order to facilitate the
adoption of evidence-based public policy regarding substance use that will improve health and well-being.

Train and mentor emerging scholars and learners

Training and mentoring the next generation of and learners promotes and sustains high quality substance
use-relevant research. We strive to provide collaborative educational opportunities for diverse populations, and to be inclusive of those in non-academic settings (e.g., community or government) or with non-academic career goals.

Our advisory board, scientistsresearch and support staff, and partners are committed to helping our society better understand, manage and navigate a world where different people have different relationships with alcohol and other drugs.

A brief introduction to the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research.