May 1, 2019

National Institute of Health to Launch $350 Million Opioid Intervention Study

The National Institute of Health (NIH), in partnership with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), will soon launch the HEALing Communities Study, an initiative with more than $350 million in funding that aims to reduce opioid overdose deaths by 40% over three years in selected communities.

A series of proven opioid prevention and treatment interventions will be practiced, including the distribution of naloxone to reverse overdose and linking individuals in the criminal justice system with treatment for opioid addiction.

The study will track communities as they reduce the incidence of opioid use disorder, increase the number of individuals receiving medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorder, increase treatment duration beyond six months, and provide recovery support services for more individuals.

Furthermore, the study will generate evidence about how tools for preventing and treating opioid addiction are most effective at the local level, looking at the effectiveness of coordinated systems of care designed to reduce overdose fatalities and events.

The study will be carried out across four research sites, including:

  • University of Kentucky, Lexington
  • Boston Medical Center, Boston
  • Columbia University, New York City
  • Ohio State University, Columbus

Each site will partner with at least 15 communities to measure the impact of integrating evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery interventions across primary care, behavioral health, criminal justice and other settings in highly affected parts of the country.

An overview of the HEALing Communities Study can be found online, with information on which counties will be covered, as well as information on workshop meetings, research plans, and more.

RTI International, based in North Carolina, will serve as the study’s coordinating center, and will be responsible for data analysis, health economics research, and widespread dissemination of research findings over the course of the study.

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