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Research Projects

This page provides information on current research projects with BCCDC Harm Reduction Services.

Communicating Drug Alerts (CDA) Project

British Columbia’s regional health authorities issue drug alerts to inform people who use substances about contaminated drugs in the community. Over the years, street drugs have become increasingly toxic which has only been worsened with the emergence of COVID-19. Drug markets have become gradually more volatile, resulting in unpredictable and increasingly toxic drug supplies and increasing rates of overdose-related deaths. We are looking to interview people who use substances to improve existing guidelines regarding drug alert communication. We are especially interested in hearing from youth, trades people, people who identify as GLBTQ2S+, and people who identify as South Asian, and how we can make drug alerts more relevant and accessible to these groups.

For more information see:

Presentations, posters and reports:

Media & Language: De-stigmatizing Language around Substance Use & Harm Reduction Reporting

Media contributes to stigmatizing substance use by using stereotypical and harmful images and words to describe people who use substances. These descriptions create a damaging discourse that substance use is a public burden driven by crime and deviance, rather than a public health concern. This project aims to de-stigmatize substance use and harm reduction reporting by encouraging journalists and media professionals to use person-first language and non-stigmatizing images in their reporting.

A rapid evidence literature review was performed and findings discussed by people with lived and living experience of substance use who shared their personal experiences of the impact of stigmatizing language and images in media. No Canadian reporting standards were identified. ​The report includes the review findings, perceptions of people with lived and living experience, and makes recommendations on how to reduce stigma in the media.

Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act (GSDOA) Project

In May 2017, the Goverment of Canada introduced the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act (GSDOA). The act aims to ensure bystander response by providing legal protection for anyone who is at the scene of an overdose from simple possession (possesions for personal use) of an illegal substance.

The GSDOA evaluation project aims to assess the implementation of the GSDOA and evaluate its effectiveness at increasing bystander response in the event of an overdose by assessing knowledge, attitudes, experiences and intentions regarding the GSDOA in British Columbia.

For more information see:

Reports and Research Summaries 



Concurrent Use and Transition to Methamphetamine among persons at risk of Overdose (CUT Meth OD)

There has been a big increase in the Methamphetamine (MA) use in British Columbia1.  Meth use has been associated with health problems and some people who use Meth choose to use it with other drugs like opioids. However, there is limited literature identifying the reasons for MA use on its own or with other substances.

This study, funded by CIHR, will help us understand, (1) why MA use has increased; (2) reasons for MA use with other drugs; (3) perceptions about the benefits and harms of MA use.

The findings from this study will help fill the knowledge gap to better understand the factors associated with MA use, and help to develop effective harm reduction interventions.

For more information see:

Knowledge Translation Resources: 

Conference Presentations:



1. BC Centre for Disease Control. 2018 BC Harm Reduction Client Survey [Internet]. Vancouver, BC: BC Centre for Disease Control; 2019 May.