An interdisciplinary research program for evidence-based public health interventions and policy for illicit drugs in BC and Canada

The use of illicit drugs in Canada is associated with substantial, widespread consequences, including high rates of death and health complications among users, and significant social and economic costs to society. Canada has traditionally addressed illicit drug use with law enforcement measures, with prevention and treatment measures playing a secondary role. Recent efforts to reform Canadian drug policy go hand-in-hand with a strong need for expanded research to support the development of effective and evidence-based intervention programs and public health policies. Dr. Benedikt Fischer is examining how to develop more effective public health-oriented prevention, treatment and policy options to reduce the harms of illicit drug use. His research focuses on five main areas: street drug use monitoring; opioid treatment programs; prevention and treatment for hepatitis C among illicit drug users; cannabis control reform; and criminal justice interventions for drug offenders. Dr. Fischer is integrating basic, clinical and social health research and working in collaboration with researchers from across Canada, with an emphasis on issues of national relevance as well as those specific to British Columbia.