Public Release: 

NIH leadership outlines interdisciplinary FY2018 research plan for HEAL Initiative

NIH/Office of the Director

In a perspective published today in The Journal of the American Medical Association, National Institutes of Health leadership detail components of a newly released research plan for the Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative. The HEAL Initiative is a trans-NIH effort launched in April 2018 to advance national priorities in addressing the opioid crisis through science. With a focus on two primary areas--improving treatments for opioid misuse and addiction, and enhancing strategies for pain management--the plan describes a multifaceted program encompassing pre-clinical, clinical, drug repurposing, and community-based approaches.

NIH outlines initial investments of the $500 million appropriated by Congress for fiscal year 2018 to bolster NIH's research efforts in addiction and pain. Critical components of the HEAL research plan for FY2018 include:

  • Developing extended-release and longer-acting opioid use disorder (OUD) medications and new therapies to counteract opioid-induced respiratory depression.
  • Reformulating current medication-assisted treatments (MAT) to promote adherence to recovery programs by Americans on OUD medications.
  • Supporting discovery and development of targets for non-addictive pain management, and therapies to treat those targets.
  • Collecting data to determine what factors lead acute pain to transition to chronic pain and how to block that transition.
  • Partnering with public and private groups to test effective treatments for pain and addiction using HEAL's clinical trial networks.
  • Expanding NIH's Advancing Clinical Trials in Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal syndrome (ACT NOW) to assess its prevalence and determine best practices for clinical care of infants with this condition.
  • Advancing new models of care for OUD and test integrated, evidence-based interventions within healthcare and criminal justice settings through the multi-site HEALing Communities initiative.

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ARTICLE:

Collins FS, Koroshetz WJ, Volkow ND. Helping to End Addiction Over the Long-term: The Research Plan for the NIH HEAL Initiative. Journal of the American Medical Association DOI: 10.1001/jama.2018.8826. For a copy of the article, please email mediarelations@jamanetwork.org.

WHO:

  • Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director, NIH
  • Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D., Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  • Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse

CONTACT:

To schedule interviews, please contact the NIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison, News Media Branch, nmb@od.nih.gov or 301-496-5787. For a copy of the article, please email mediarelations@jamanetwork.org.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov/.

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