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June 2022

There is a strong and complex link between opioid dependence and mental health: more than 74% of people living with an opioid use disorder (OUD) develop depression over their lifetime. It is important to address the impact of mental health status in the treatment of OUD in order to increase treatment success and ensure better management of this population. Gabriel Bastien, a PhD student in biomedical sciences, has been interested in this issue for the past two years.

His project focuses on the interrelationship between depression and opioid addiction. Through this study, Gabriel was recently awarded a scholarship from the Neurobiology of Mood Disorders Axis of the Réseau québécois sur le suicide, les troubles de l’humeur et les troubles associés (RQSHA) The $5,000 scholarship was intended to complement the funding of a graduate student member of the RQSHA to support and enhance the development of its research career.

His RQSHA-funded study analyses data taken from the OPTIMA study to assess the impact of depression on the efficacy of opioid agonist treatments, namely methadone and buprenorphine combined with naloxone.

The results of this research project will serve as a tool to help clinicians work with the complex treatment for opioid dependence in the context of comorbid depression. Overall, people living with depression and opioid addiction will have access to improved treatment options tailored to their specific psychiatric disorders and thus, have a greater chance of recovery.

The RQSHA offers four scholarship top-ups for graduate students per year.

  • Clinical Research and Innovative Treatment Interventions Axis (January 15)
  • Neurobiology of Mood Disorders Axis (April 15)
  • Psychosocial, Ethical and Aboriginal Health Research Axis (July 15)
  • Addiction Disorders Axis (October 15)

For more information, visit the RQSHA’s website.