The addiction psychiatry research unit (APRU), directed by Dr Didier Jutras-Aswad, head of the psychiatry department of the CHUM and clinical researcher, is conducting a dynamic clinical research program focused on psychoactive substances, mental health and drug addiction. This unit is made up of a multidisciplinary team, trained to the highest standards in clinical research. The team includes a researcher, a project manager, research coordinators, research assistants, scientific writers and graduate students.
The mission of our research team is to generate highly relevant competitive research, combining the clinical and scientific expertise of the CHUM with its vast network of collaborators as a factor in improving the health of the population. This mission is expressed, on the one hand, by increasing the quality and the coherence of research in psychiatry of drug addiction in humans, on the other hand, by ensuring a rapid and direct transposition of this research to the population through multiple channels of knowledge transfer.
The research laboratory has a state-of-the-art clinical research infrastructure, including an intensive surveillance and monitoring room, nine rooms for individual interviews, evaluations or physical exams as well as rooms that can be used for telephone screening, patient interviews and the administration of experimental measures. The CHUM also has a large addiction and psychiatry clinic, the mandate of which is to collaborate closely and support research efforts by facilitating recruitment, integrating clinical trials into program activities and supporting teams of research by providing advanced clinical care to participants, when required. In addition, the laboratory has several site licenses for important substances and mental health research tools, as well as statistical software licenses for qualitative and quantitative analyzes.
Our team also set up the Living Cannabis Laboratory (LIL). This unique laboratory in Quebec specializes in the evaluation of physical, physiological, neurocognitive and behavioural effects when administering cannabis and other drugs in human subjects. This laboratory, which complies with applicable codes, regulations and standards, is equipped with the equipment necessary to allow the safe consumption of psychoactive substances. In addition, smoke source capture, biological sampling and continuous monitoring of participants make it a unique place to study the effects of cannabis in humans. The laboratory has four rooms, including the preparation and sampling area and the administration room. The latter has an SF4000 cabin and is maintained under negative pressure, which means that any smoke cannot spread outside the enclosure and to adjacent areas.
Dr Didier Jutras-Aswad is a psychiatrist who specializes in addiction psychiatry. Graduated with a doctorate in medicine and a master’s degree in biomedical sciences from the Université de Montréal, he is now a researcher at the CHUM research centre, associate clinical professor at the Université de Montréal and the Institut Universitaire sur les dépendances. He is also the recipient of several research grants from funding agencies and is the principal investigator of various clinical trials in the field of drug addiction and concurrent disorders. In addition, he is involved in several research networks surrounding themes affecting vulnerable populations, namely drug addiction, HIV, hepatitis C and suicide. He is director of the laboratory of the addiction psychiatry unit, where, with his team, he carries out research work which focuses on the development of new intervention methods for drug addiction and associated comorbidities.