We are a research lab at the Department of Psychology at Ryerson University led by Dr. Sarah Dermody. In the Clinical Addictions Research and Equity (CARE) Lab, we examine addiction risk from a multidisciplinary perspective—integrating psychological, behavioral, interpersonal, and biological risk factors to better understand the “how, when, why, and who” pertaining addiction risk and risk for other negative health behaviors.
Much of our research focuses on problematic usage patterns of alcohol and nicotine-containing products like cigarettes. Alcohol and cigarettes are two of the leading preventable causes of death in the world, including in Canada. And when these substances are used together, which is often the case, the health-related harms are even further magnified. This leaves people who drink alcohol and smoke in a position where it is critical for them to reduce or stop their use, but they often have difficulty doing so. Importantly, there are subgroups in the population, like sexual and gender minority individuals, that are at particularly high risk for using these substances and experiencing the associated harms. Thus, our mission is also to ensure that our research helps individuals from diverse backgrounds.
CARE lab is working on ways to help individuals improve their health by tackling their addictions to substances. In one line of research, we are investigating the best way to simultaneously treat alcohol and tobacco use disorders. We are also collecting data to investigate barriers that sexual and gender minority individuals face when seeking treatment for their substance-related concerns. Furthermore, we are investigating specific subgroups, including some members of the LGBTQ+ communities, who are at risk for using multiple substances in order to develop tailored interventions to improve their health and well-being.