Expanded treatment options for opioid use disorder (OUD) are needed to promote long-term recovery in more patients. The Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative, or NIH HEAL InitiativeSM, will accelerate the development of novel medications and devices to treat all aspects of the opioid addiction cycle, including progression to chronic use, withdrawal symptoms, craving, relapse, and overdose.
To comprehensively address opioid addiction, the NIH HEAL Initiative will support the development of new formulations of existing medications to treat OUD; longer-duration formulations to counteract opioid overdose; interventions for respiratory depression; and novel medications to treat progression to chronic use, withdrawal, craving, and relapse.
The NIH HEAL Initiative will support the creation of a coordinated, multidisciplinary consortium to develop anti-opioid vaccines and test them in clinical trials. These vaccines will induce antibodies that bind specifically to target opioids, reducing their effects and offering protection from overdose.