What is the NIH HEAL Initiative?

What is the NIH HEAL Initiative?

The Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, is an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. Almost every NIH Institute and Center is accelerating research to address this public health emergency from all angles.

The initiative is funding hundreds of projects nationwide. Researchers are taking a variety of approaches to tackle the opioid epidemic through:

  • Understanding, managing, and treating pain
  • Improving prevention and treatment for opioid misuse and addiction
Learn about the initiative

Research Snapshot: Better Sleep Eases Opioid Withdrawal and Cuts Drug Craving

The insomnia drug suvorexant helped people with opioid use disorder sleep longer and better. It also reduced painful withdrawal symptoms, lessened drug cravings, and increased the desire to not use opioids.

Read the Snapshot

NIH HEAL Initiative 2022 Annual Report

Despite facing another year of pandemic-related impediments, the NIH HEAL Initiative and its research community have continued their progress in addressing the wide-ranging needs of people who live with pain and addiction. As summarized in the NIH HEAL Initiative 2022 Annual Report, HEAL-funded researchers have successfully launched clinical trials, recruited research participants, advanced the drug development pipeline, and promoted health equity for treatment of both pain and substance use disorders, among other achievements.

View Annual Report page

Latest Research Spotlight

Dad walks and talks with his son

Latest Research Spotlight

Prevention Can Be Treatment at a Different Time

Targeting the causes of opioid misuse and addiction

Read the Spotlight

Research Priorities

In 2018, NIH, in consultation with a broad range of stakeholders, identified a set of research priorities reflecting urgent unmet needs across the lifespan, areas of promising scientific opportunity, and concrete strategies capable of providing rapid and durable solutions to the opioid crisis.

Through evidence-based scientific research, the NIH HEAL Initiative will provide lasting, scientific solutions to the opioid crisis.

Explore Funding for Your Research

A group of people holding hands

Explore Funding for Your Research

Through the initiative, NIH supports research to enhance pain management and to prevent and improve treatment for opioid misuse and addiction. The initiative funds work in research focus areas led by most NIH ICs supporting hundreds of projects, from basic science to implementation research.

See Open HEAL Funding Opportunities