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Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research celebrates ‘dynamic’ five years

Dr. James MacKillop says legalization of cannabis, vaping concerns and the Opioid epidemic have changed the playing field for addiction's research.
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Dr. James MacKillop says legalization of cannabis, vaping concerns and the Opioid epidemic have changed the playing field for addiction's research. . St. Joseph's Healthcare

A local addictions research facility has celebrated the fifth anniversary of its launch – a time that it’s director describes as “remarkably dynamic.”

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Dr. James MacKillop, director of the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research, says legalization of cannabis, vaping concerns and the opioid epidemic have changed the playing field for researchers.

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The centre was established in 2014 through a donation from the Boris family, founders of Mountain Cablevision.  It operates out of the West 5th campus of St. Joseph’s Healthcare.

How to talk with your teen about the use of cannabis?
How to talk with your teen about the use of cannabis?

Dr. Mackillop says we are living in a time when drug abuse research must “rise to a lot of timely societal issues because there are very high risk behaviours happening and addicted disorders continue to be a major public health burden.”

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The centre has received grants totalling $37.8 million since it was launched and has generated almost 200 publications.

In addition to alcohol and substance-use, researchers examine non-substance based addictions like gaming, internet use, compulsive eating and sun tanning.

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Dr. MacKillop says they’ve been able to turn a “bedrock foundation of support” into major innovations in new knowledge and treatment that is “as relevant as it can be for patients.”