Author Archives: Chris Richardson

Stronger Together in Surrey Feb 13-16: Family-led dialogue on the personal impacts of substance use

The BC Centre on Substance Use is hosting Stronger Together: A series of dialogue and learning sessions for families and allies impacted by substance use. We will explore systemic barriers to family support, share promising practices, and brainstorm solutions. We will learn from each other’s experiences, successes, and challenges. Community knowledge will be documented and used to inform substance use service planning, as well as research directions, in your community and province. For more information on what the sessions involve and dates and locations of events visit .

Gone Too Soon: Navigating Grief and Loss as a Result of Substance Use

Gone Too Soon: Navigating Grief and Loss as a result of Substance Use

This handbook was written by the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) in collaboration with the BC Bereavement Helpline (BCBH) and the BC Coroners Service.

The handbook was created with the guidance of Leslie McBain and Jennifer Woodside, who generously shared their stories and experiences and what they wish they had known in the immediate days after they lost children to drug-related harms, as well as what they wished they had known in the months and years after.

The handbook covers emotions and responses you may experience, tips to take care of yourself, practical considerations in the wake of this tragedy, and stories from people who have lost loved ones.

Click here to download a free copy of this important handbook 

Program targets kids at risk of drug abuse

Scaring kids against using drugs or alcohol, or telling them to “just say no,” is not an effective strategy of preventing the misuse of substances, says one local doctor. Instead, a program identifying youth at high risk of substance misuse has proven to be much more impactful.

Click here for a recent news story on Preventure, which is in its third year in the Vernon school district.

Substance use costs Canadians $38.4 billion per year: CISUR/CCSA study

The the University of Victoria’s Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research (CISUR) ​ and the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) is pleased to announce the release of a major new study estimating the economic costs and harms associated with substance use in Canada.

The results of the study indicate that the overall economic cost of substance use in Canada in 2014 was $38.4 billion, or approximately $1,100 for every Canadian regardless of age. Legally available psychoactive substances, tobacco and alcohol, contributed over two-thirds of these costs. Between 2007 and 2014, costs associated with opioids and cannabis increased while those associated with cocaine decreased. Productivity losses amounted to 41 percent of the total cost, while healthcare costs were 29 percent and criminal justice costs were 23 percent of the total cost.

The report can be downloaded from the project website, along with a report in short and infographic.

New centre at VGH streamlines care for mental health and substance use clients

Vancouver, BC – Vancouver Coastal Health has opened a new centre to streamline access to mental health and substance use services. The Access and Assessment Centre (AAC) at Vancouver General Hospital will take pressure off emergency departments and provide a central location where clients with mental health and substance use problems can access health care services and information, including an onsite assessment.

The Access and Assessment Centre consolidates a number of existing services under one roof, including Acute Home Based Mental Health Treatment, Mental Health Emergency Services (Car 87/88 partnership with Vancouver Police Department) and Vancouver Adult Mental Health Intake Assessment services. New services include self/family referrals, 24/7 phone & walk-in access, and in-depth screening to recommend the best next step for clients. Having one reception, phone and file for patients will lead to more coordinated service and care.

The AAC is a 24/7 Walk-in clinic and phone service for urgent and non-emergency access to VCH Mental Health and Substance Use services (phones & clinic are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). We provide onsite assessments, phone assessments and clinical outreach to adult (17+) Vancouver residents. No referral or appointment required.

Phone Number: 604.875.8289

Address: 711 West 12th Ave (enter through back lane behind 715 West 12th Ave “Health Centre”).

11’th Annual Family Conference: FROM CRISIS TO HOPE

The Annual Family Conference on Saturday April 23, 2016 in Vancouver is sponsored by Vancouver Coastal Health, the Family Advisory Committee, British Columbia Schizophrenia Society and Mood Disorders Association of BC. For more detailed information on the conference  click here

Keynote Presentations include:
Access & Assessment Centre (AAC): A New Service for Vancouver Residents to Access Mental Health and Substance Use Services in Vancouver
Monica McAlduff (Director, Vancouver Mental Health & Substance Use Acute, Tertiary & Urgent Services); George Scotton (Manager, Vancouver Access & Assessment Centre, ACT & AOT)

Finding Clarity in Chaos: Principles for Developing Health and Recovery
Dr. Diane Fredrikson (Physician Lead, Early Psychosis Intervention Program, VCH)

When Treatments are Inadequate – New Hope for Patients
Dr. Randall F. White (Medical Director, B.C. Psychosis Program, Clinical Assoc. Professor, UBC)

Panel Discussions:
Support for Families in Need

How Families Can Advocate for Improved Mental Health Care

Scientists identify key gene associated with addiction

A new study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry by a team led by Salah El Mestikawy, Ph.D., researcher at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute (CIUSSS de l’Ouest-de-l’île-de-Montréal), professor at McGill University and head of research at CNRS INSERM UPMC in Paris, opens the field to new understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying addiction in humans. For more information on this exiting new finding click here