The Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®, supports a wide range of programs to develop new or improved prevention and treatment strategies for opioid addiction. Program goals include:
- Preventing individuals with low-severity opioid use disorder (OUD) from developing a more serious OUD
- Building strategies to keep people in medication treatment for opioid addiction
- Understanding the role of sleep dysfunction in OUD and recovery
- Stopping at-risk adolescents from developing OUD
- Exploring collaborative care for people with OUD and mental health conditions
Collaborative care has been shown to be effective for treating mood and anxiety disorders, but more research is needed to demonstrate its usefulness for OUD. Researchers will test the adaptation, effectiveness, adoption, scalability, and sustainability of collaborative care for individuals with OUD and co-occurring mental health conditions using integrated treatment models in primary care settings.
Older adolescents and young adults are at the highest risk for opioid initiation, misuse, OUD, and overdose fatality. A series of studies will develop and test strategies for preventing opioid misuse and addiction in at-risk older adolescents and young adults in a variety of health care settings. The studies will build on research models that have successfully addressed alcohol consumption in this population.
The NIH HEAL Initiative will support research using genomic, molecular, pharmacological, and clinical approaches to better understand sleep and circadian factors relevant to addiction and how these factors influence one another. This research could open new avenues for therapeutic strategies, OUD prevention, and treatment approaches.
The NIH HEAL Initiative will support research to define the optimal length of FDA-approved medication treatments for OUD, methadone and buprenorphine, taking into account various patient populations and treatment settings.
The Subthreshold Opioid Use Disorder Prevention (STOP) Study will help researchers better understand how to define, identify, and intervene in the management of opioid misuse among individuals with low-severity OUD in primary care settings.