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Innovative treatments in toxicomania

February 2021

This month, Violaine unveils the results of her randomized clinical trial involving cocaine users. Her study involved 78 participants with moderate to severe cocaine use disorder who went into a 10-day detoxification period before being weekly followed for 3 months. Participants were randomly assigned to daily receive a large dose (800 mg) of cannabidiol (CBD) or placebo for 92 days. Her results demonstrated that compared to placebo, CBD was unfortunately not effective in reducing cocaine craving, the risk of relapse or cocaine use. CBD was, however, well tolerated by participants and associated mainly with mild side effects such as diarrhea. Together, her results encourage the development of new pharmacological compounds to treat cocaine use disorder.

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January 2021

According to the National Institute of Public Health of Quebec, between March and June 2020, overdose-related deaths were up 51% compared to the same period the year before. This is some of the disturbing data presented in a text by Quebec Science, for which Dr. Jutras-Aswad was interviewed, which exposes the ravages of the pandemic on people with concurrent disorders. As in all sectors of society, COVID-19 has altered professionals’ practices of working in the field of mental health, allowing spectacular advances in telemedicine and making patient follow-up more flexible. However, the sanitary crisis persists and its harmful effects, such as increased delays before treatment, are not about to be resolved. To read here.

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December 2020

As part of the reform of the Police Law, the Ministère de la Sécurité publique is currently conducting public hearings on police reality. Since many people with mental health and / or drug addiction seek police assistance when they are in crisis, police officers must adjust to their vulnerability. It is with enthusiasm that Dr. Jutras-Aswad shared his expertise in concurrent disorders during these hearings in order to better equip police officers. He particularly welcomes their innovative approaches such as mixed patrols including social workers (e.g. psychosocial emergency support team) and maintains that continuing education in mental health is crucial for the professional development of police officers in order to reflect the changing reality of the most vulnerable people. You can watch his presentation here or read our report by clicking this link.

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November 2020

Three people out of four with opioid use disorder will develop a depression during their lifetime. To know more about these co-occurring disorders, join us for a free lunch conference organized by the Institut Universitaire sur les Dépendances on December 1st, from noon to 1pm. During this webinar, the researcher Didier Jutras-Aswad and the social worker Jean-Nicolas Proulx will share the latest data from research simultaneously examining depression and opioid use disorder.

To register, please click here.


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October 2020

Combine the useful with the pleasant? This is what Dr Jutras-Aswad and the University of Montreal are offering by inviting you to an edition of film and conferences on drug addiction. At a cost of 5$, the film conferences allow you to watch a film related to a health theme, which is followed by a conference given by a qualified expert who demystifies the theme of the evening and provides tools practices based on key scenes from the film.

Beautiful Boy, inspired by the memoirs of journalist David Sheff and his son Nic, paints a heartbreaking portrait of a family’s unconditional love and commitment to their son’s grip on drugs and his healing attempts. Following Nic’s many relapses, the Sheff face the harsh reality of drug addiction that can strike at any time. A short introductory lecture on drug addiction and its collateral damage will precede the viewing of the film and then, at the end of the evening, Dr Jutras-Aswad will review the film and discuss with the audience. The activity will be held online from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on October 8th.

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September 2020

Two years after its legalization, cannabis still raises questions and discussions. Although the substance is consumed by a relatively large proportion of the population, the potential dangers it presents to mental health are concerning. Fortunately, more and more specialists are able to answer our questions as knowledge about cannabis grows.

On October 7th, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Dr Didier Jutras-Aswad, director of the CHUM psychiatry department, Jean-Nicolas Proulx, social worker at the CHUM, and a patient partner will discuss mental health and cannabis during the new edition of HumaniSciences. The free activity does not require registration and will be held live on the CRCHUM Facebook page.

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August 2020

Since cannabis legalization in 2018, cannabinoid research has been booming. Cannabidiol (CBD) is attracting a great deal of interest as it is credited with countering the side effects of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) such as anxiety or psychotic symptoms.

In an editorial published in the scientific journal Addiction, the doctoral candidate, Violaine Mongeau-Pérusse, and the head of our laboratory, Didier Jutras-Aswad, warn against the hasty conclusions drawn from studies supporting the protective effects of CBD.

This is because observational studies conducted do not have the same value as randomized trials and the few trials performed have produced mixed and inconsistent results. In addition, the products tested so far are very different from those found on the market. Before we can comment on the properties of CBD, it is necessary to conduct more robust clinical studies with cannabis products that are the same as those in the recreational market.

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May 2020

Injection drug users are at risk of blood-borne infections like the hepatitis C virus (HCV). To reduce these harms, the distribution of sterile injection equipment and access to substitution treatments (e.g. opioid agonist therapy or OAT) remain central to preventing transmission of these diseases. But how efficacious are these strategies? A new study based on a cohort of 422 Montreal drug users reveals that a high dose of OAT (>=60mg/day methadone or >=16mg/day buprenorphine) is associated with a 77% risk reduction of HCV infection. A light dose of OAT or access to sterile injection equipment did not show significant risk reductions of HCV infection. This study is helping clinicians to better choose the appropriate dose of OAT to prevent infections in patients with drug use disorder. You can read the article published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine here.

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April 2020

During this period of confinement when electronic devices become essential tools, many health care workers provide care using these technologies, which motivates an investment of $ 240M from the federal government. In drug addiction, this care includes psychological interventions aimed at reducing the consumption of drugs such as cannabis. Ovidiu and Gabriel looked at these interventions offered to patients with psychotic disorders in whom the use of marijuana increases symptoms and length of hospital stay in addition to harming recovery. Their systematic review published in Psychiatry Research has shown that research in this area is still in its infancy. However, in non-psychotic individuals, the technology-based psychotherapeutic interventions were effective in reducing cannabis consumption. Their application in psychotic patients would therefore help increase access to care without significantly increasing healthcare costs. To consult the study, click here.