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NIH Outlines Plans for HEALing Communities Study

October 19, 2020

In a piece penned for the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, officials from the National Institutes of Health have outlined additional details on plans for the HEALing Communities Study, a large-scale initiative that will attempt to address gaps in efforts to reach the communities that have been hardest hit by the opioid epidemic and provide evidence-based interventions for OUD.

The study, funded by the NIH Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative, will be co-administered by NIH and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The HEALing Communities Study was first announced in May 2019 as a $350 million, multi-year project with the goal of reducing opioid-related overdose deaths by 40% over three years.

The study is designed to test the impact of a community-based, data-driven approach to OUD treatment in 67 communities across Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio, facilitating the implementation of evidence-based practices in primary care clinics, emergency departments, community health centers, correctional facilities and other settings. The study will also look at the effect of engaging governments, law enforcement personnel, faith-based organizations, schools and other community groups in the process.

NIH says it will also look at developing dissemination and implementation strategies to reduce disparities in care for underserved populations, and also study the impact of stigma and other factors on the creation, provision and reception of evidence-based practices.

Research sites for the study include:

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