Funding for nine Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP) projects and an upcoming Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) call for proposals

Backgrounder

June 2018

As part of its efforts to address the opioid crisis, the Government of Canada has announced funding for nine innovative projects that focus on surveillance, education and training for peers and peer workers, and developing best practices for medication-assisted treatment.

Proposals were selected on the basis of identified priorities, evidence-base, cost-effectiveness, cost sharing, organizational capacity and partnerships. Preference was given to innovative projects that focus on new models of care, new ways for professionals to work together, and new ways of engaging people.

These projects are based in Ontario and British Columbia, but are either national in scope or will produce results that can be applied across the country. These nine projects complement the six projects announced in March 2018. The projects are being implemented across the country to respond to community needs and to help us increase the evidence base needed to respond to the opioid crisis.

The Government has also announced funding for an upcoming call for research proposals to evaluate opioid interventions:

Projects funded by Health Canada's Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP)

  1. Canadian AIDS Society (in partnership with the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs) to develop peer resources

    Approximately $945,000 will be provided to the Canadian AIDS Society to develop and disseminate an educational guide for people who use drugs and to promote access to care. Topics in the guide will include information on new and emerging drugs, safer consumption practices, overdose prevention, pain management, and opioid agonist treatment and where to access it. This guide will also be adapted for service providers.

    The Canadian AIDS Society will also work with service providers to remove barriers to care and ensure the meaningful involvement of peers in the development of policy and guidelines to respond to the opioid crisis.

  2. HIV/AIDS Resources and Community Health (ARCH) to provide outreach and harm reduction services

    More than $200,000 will be provided to HIV/AIDS Resources and Community Health for outreach to individuals who are not currently accessing harm reduction services in the regions of Guelph, Wellington and Dufferin. The project will leverage the expertise of peers with lived experience who will provide naloxone training to people who use injected and inhaled drugs.

  3. Street Health Community Nursing Foundation to implement and evaluate a peer training program

    More than $1.6 million will be provided to the Street Health Community Nursing Foundation in Toronto to support access to evidence-informed health promotion, prevention, treatment and harm reduction programs and services in inner-city and inner-suburban neighbourhoods.

    This initiative will implement and evaluate a peer training program that promotes knowledge, skills, practices and behaviours to enable peer workers to provide effective harm reduction outreach and support to marginalized populations in Toronto and to build the capacity of community-based organizations to engage peer workers.

  4. British Columbia Centre for Disease Control to develop a standardized national surveillance system for monitoring the content of illegal drugs

    More than $745,000 will be provided to the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control to expand an existing surveillance system that includes a harm reduction client survey and urine toxicology testing to check the contents of the drugs ingested by people at harm reduction sites throughout BC and across Canada.

    Information about drug contents will be made available to stakeholders, including those who use drugs, to inform their behaviour and harm reduction policies and services based on accurate information about emerging issues in the toxic illegal street drug supply.

  5. Province of British Columbia to develop and deliver a training program for BC pharmacists on medication-assisted treatment

    More than $950,000 will be provided to the BC Ministry of Health to develop and deliver training for pharmacists who dispense opioid agonist therapy. The focus will be on expanding their knowledge around buprenorphine/naloxone and slow-release oral morphine, as well as increasing their knowledge of the substance use continuum of care in BC.

    This project will increase training and standards to enhance the quality of care and the patient experience in treatment. This will increase opportunities for patient engagement, reducing stigma through education and potentially improving treatment outcomes.

  6. Simon Fraser University (in partnership with the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS) to develop health system performance measures for people with opioid use disorder

    Approximately $490,000 will be provided to Simon Fraser University to develop a comprehensive, rigorously defined set of health system performance measures for people with opioid use disorders. This will include quantifying the target population's engagement with the health care system¾from initial diagnosis through treatment¾and the degree to which clients achieve their desired goals, including abstinence or reducing harm and negative health impacts.

    This project will enable providers to identify gaps in retention and opportunities for re-engagement in the quality of care for people with opioid use disorders.

  7. St. Paul's Foundation of Vancouver (in partnership with the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS) to promote best practices and collaboration among health care professionals who provide opioid replacement therapy.

    Approximately $400,000 will be provided to St. Paul's Foundation of Vancouver to expand the Best practices in Oral Opioid agoniSt Therapy (BOOST) Collaborative project to include Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health.

    The BOOST Collaborative brings together professionals providing oral opioid agonist therapy services in primary care, substance use, mental health, withdrawal management, and outreach settings to develop, implement, measure and share best practices in oral opioid agonist therapy.

  8. University of Toronto Health Network to deliver and evaluate the Online Opioid Self-Assessment Program

    Approximately $295,000 will be provided to the University of Toronto Health Network to obtain Continuing Medical Education accreditation for a revised Online Opioid Self-Assessment Program (OOSAP) to promote free enrollment to the program and to evaluate the program to improve uptake and measure impacts.

    The OOSAP is based on the Canadian Guideline for Opioids for Chronic Non-Cancer Pain and would be offered to opioid prescribers, students and educators in both official languages across Canada.

  9. University of Victoria to implement a drug-checking pilot project on Vancouver Island

    Approximately $1.7 million will be provided to the University of Victoria's Department of Chemistry, to build the evidence base for harm reduction programs by integrating drug-checking services in supervised consumption and overdose prevention sites. The data collected would also be supplemented by qualitative information from people who use illegal substances. Combining these two methodologies will result in greater evidence regarding best practices for drug-checking services.

    This initiative will increase the personal safety of people who use drugs and enhance surveillance of the market for illegal street drugs. Services will be available at supervised consumption sites and overdose prevention sites across Vancouver Island.

Funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for opioid research

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research will provide up to $1.5 million in 2018-19 to support research projects to evaluate interventions implemented across Canada in response to the opioid crisis. This research will help provide evidence on topics such as which non-pharmacological interventions work best to treat pain, how best to prevent opioid overdoses, how to treat opioid use disorder and how to promote harm reduction.

In March 2018, CIHR announced $1.9 million to support 22 knowledge synthesis grants to rapidly inform policies on opioids related to one or more pillars of the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy.

These grants were directly informed by knowledge users, enabling researchers to consolidate available evidence relevant to identified knowledge gaps and feed it back into the hands of service providers, community advocates and provincial, territorial and federal policy makers on the front lines of the opioid crisis.

For more information on CIHR actions on the opioid crisis, please visit: Research in Substance Use: Opioids.

For more information on federal actions on the opioid crisis, please visit Canada.ca/Opioids.


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