Government of Canada renews its investment in research to address substance use in Canada

News release

June 3, 2022 – Toronto, Ontario – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Addressing the health and safety harms of substance use must be seen as a pressing and complex health issue, not a criminal one. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly exacerbated the everyday reality of people who use substances and those who support them. Moving forward, policies and practices to prevent, treat, or reduce harms from substance use must be based on timely and accurate evidence.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced that the Government of Canada is renewing its investment in the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM) with funding of $17 million through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

CIHR established CRISM in 2015 as a national research consortium on substance use and related harms. CRISM was created as a network of four large multi-disciplinary, integrated teams, known as Nodes, in regions across Canada. Each Node is made up of substance use researchers, service providers, decision-makers, and people with lived and living experience. The Nodes work together to support and generate the evidence needed to inform health policies and practices related to substance use and then bring that evidence to policymakers and practitioners to improve health outcomes for people who use substances. The Ontario Node is located at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto.


“Problematic substance use continues to take a tragic toll on individuals, families, and communities across Canada. Ensuring that we have the best research to inform our health policies and practices, especially when it comes to substance use, is a priority for our government. The expertise and guidance that CRISM provides will be integral to improving the quality of care and quality of life for people in Canada who use substances.”

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

“Canada is facing a devastating opioid overdose crisis, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Harms associated with substance use continue to impact families across Canada, and concerns are also growing over the substantial rise in methamphetamine use in many parts of the country. This support will ensure the continuation and expansion of CRISM’s research and knowledge mobilization activities focused on substance use harms and will address the lack of high-quality data to inform clinical practice and substance use policy related to methamphetamine use disorder.”

Dr. Samuel Weiss
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction

“Research into the harms of substance use has never been more critical. CAMH welcomes this funding for CRISM’s important work. This funding will support the creation of evidence-based interventions for the clinics and communities that need them most. This investment into mitigating harms for those who use substances is another step towards creating a Canada where mental health is health.”

Tracey MacArthur
President and Chief Executive Officer, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Quick facts

  • The Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM) is a national network of researchers, service providers, policy makers and people with lived experience of substance use.

  • CIHR established CRISM in 2015 to support substance use research and mobilize evidence into clinical practice, community-based intervention, harm reduction and health system changes. It was first created with four regional Nodes: British Columbia, Prairies, Ontario, and Quebec-Atlantic Canada.

  • The Government of Canada is providing $17 million in new funding from CIHR to support the next phase of CRISM.

  • The funding will be used to expand CRISM to five regional Nodes, creating separate Nodes for Quebec and Atlantic Canada. It will also support a national study on methamphetamine use disorder.

  • Methamphetamine is a powerful synthetic stimulant that is highly addictive and dangerous to your health. According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, while the prevalence of methamphetamine use is generally low in Canada, there has been an increase in the availability and harms associated with methamphetamine since 2013.

Associated links


Maja Staka
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system

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