Regional demonstration project 2:

Feasibility of personality-targeted interventions to reduce polysubstance abuse among opiate substitution therapy (OST) clients

OST Study – Quebec Region


For info, please contact:
Aissata Sako
514-890-8000 ext. 30936


  • Patricia Conrod, PhD, Psychiatry Department (Université de Montréal)
  • Sherry Stewart, PhD, Psychology Department (Dalhousie University)


  • Suzanne Brissette, MD, MSc, (CHUM / Université de Montréal)
  • Julie Bruneau MD, MSc, (CHUM / Université de Montréal)
  • Marie-Ève Goyer, MD, MSc, (CHUM / Université de Montréal / CRAN)
  • Sean Barrett, PhD (Dalhousie University)


The illicit use of prescription or injection drugs is extremely prevalent among opiate substitution therapy (OST) clients, and is linked to disability, morbidity, and mortality. Members of this Node have previously demonstrated that personality factors, such as impulsivity, anxiety sensitivity, hopelessness and sensation seeking are robustly implicated risk for substance misuse and related harm.  Dr. Stewart’s team recently demonstrated associations between these personality traits and substance misuse in OST clients. Indeed, a randomized controlled trial (RCT) completed in a Halifax low threshold OST clinic revealed that certain personality traits are also influential in severe addiction cases.

For example, anxiety sensitivity (AS) predicted the recent misuse of prescription opiates in an attempt to self-medicate, while impulsivity (IMP) predicted recent injection drug use associated with high-risk injection behaviours. In RCTs, brief coping skills interventions with AS and IMP individuals effectively reduced substance abuse, anxiety symptoms, and criminal behaviours. However, these brief interventions have yet to be tested in patients maintained on OST. We expect that these interventions will become a useful harm reduction tool for this population.

The main objective of this two-step CRISM – Quebec-Atlantic demonstration project is to assess the feasibility of adapting brief personality-targeted coping skills interventions to address polysubstance misuse amongst OST clients. The participants are being recruited from two provincial jurisdictions (Nova Scotia and Quebec) in a total of 4 different clinics (2 in Halifax; 2 in Montreal). During step 1, relevant information will be gathered and analyzed to allow the effective adaptation of an existing intervention plan to use with OST clients. During step 2, the intervention manuals will be adapted based on information obtained from step 1 and the feasibility of the interventions with OST clients will be assessed.

Recruitment sites

  1. Centre de recherche et d’aide pour narcomanes (CRAN), 110 Rue Prince Arthur O, Montréal, QC H2X 1S7
  2. Department of Addiction Medicine, CHUM Saint-Luc, Pavillon Édouard Asselin, 264 boul. René Lévesque Est, H2X 1P1

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