Benedikt Fischer

  • Adjunct Professor
  • Phone: 778-782-7341


Benedikt Fischer, PhD (Criminology/U of Toronto) is a Senior Scientist in the Social & Epidemiological Research Department, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), and Professor (status) at the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry, the Institute of Medical Science, and the Centre for Criminology & Sociolegal Studies; he is also the current holder of a CIHR/PHAC Applied Public Health Chair Award. Until 2014, he held the senior academic positions of University Professor (Faculty of Health Sciences & Criminology) and Director, Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health & Addiction (CARMHA), at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, where is now Adjunct Professor and continues to operate several active research projects. Dr. Fischer’s main areas of research work include the epidemiology and health/social harms as well as prevention/treatment/public health interventions related to illicit/prescription drug misuse and related co-morbidities (e.g., mental health, infectious/chronic diseases including Hepatitis C/HIV), with a focus on both general (e.g., youth/adolescent and adults) and high risk/marginalized (e.g., homeless/street, criminal justice, First Nations/Aboriginal) populations. His interdisciplinary research work – combining social, clinical and biological science methods and approaches – features a strong emphasis on knowledge translation and evidence-based intervention/policy development within a public health framework. His research is supported by major external funders (e.g., CIHR, Open Society Foundation) and includes extensive collaborations with colleagues and teams across Canada and internationally (e.g., Europe, Australia, Latin America, with special focus on Brazil). Dr. Fischer is the author of some 250 scientific publications – many involving students and trainees - as well as several internationally co-authored books (including OUP’s ‘Drug Policy and the Public Good’ and ‘Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalemate’, both 2010). For several years, he held key Advisory Board positions with CIHR’s Institute of Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA) as well as the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). He is the PI of the recently (CIHR) funded Ontario Node Team of the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM) and serves as an Associate Editor for the International Journal of Drug Policy.


Research Interests

Dr. Fischer’s interdisciplinary research overall focuses on the determinants, epidemiology and harms of psychoactive substance use; related key co-morbidities (e.g., mental health, infectious disease); marginalized/vulnerable populations (e.g., street drug users, young people, Aboriginal, corrections etc.) populations, urban/public health, prevention and treatment interventions, with a strong focus on knowledge translation, policy and practice. His current research activities are funded by key external funding sources (e.g., CIHR, NIH, PAHO, government sources, etc.) and build on several principal research foci, including:


See PubMed

Featured Publications

Rehm, J., Fischer, B. (2015). Cannabis legalization with strict regulation, the overall superior policy option for public health.  Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 97(06):541-544.

Fischer, B., Blanken, P., Da Silveira, D., Gallassi, A., Goldner, E., Rehm, J.,Tyndall, M., Wood, E. (2015). Effectiveness of Targeted Prevention and Treatment Interventions for Crack Use Abuse: A Comprehensive Narrative Review of English-language Studies. International Journal of Drug Policy, 26(04):352-363.

Fischer, B., Imtiaz, S., Rudzinski, K., Rehm, J. (2015). Crude estimates of cannabis-attributable mortality and morbidity in Canada–implications for public health focused intervention priorities. Journal of Public Health [e-published 28 January 2015].

Fischer, B., Kuganesan, S., Room, R. (2015). ‘Medical Marijuana’ programs – Implications for cannabis control reform: Observations from Canada. International Journal of Drug Policy, 26(01):15-19.

Fischer, B., Jones, W., Rehm, J. (2014).  Trends and Changes in Prescription Opioid Analgesic Dispensing in Canada 2005-2012: An Update with a Focus on Recent Interventions. BMC Health Services Research, 14(90).

Cruz, M., Bastos, F., Bertoni, N., Burnett, C., Gooch, J., Fischer, B. (2014). Comparing key characteristics of young adult crack users in and out-of-treatment in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy, 9(1):2.

Research Projects