Preventing At-Risk Adolescents Transitioning into Adulthood from Developing Opioid Use Disorder


The Research Need

Older adolescents and young adults (ages 16-30) are at the highest risk for initiation of opioid use, opioid misuse, opioid use disorder (OUD), and death from overdose, and there are no evidence-based interventions to prevent opioid use disorder.

About the Program

NIH is supporting a series of studies to develop and test effective strategies to prevent opioid misuse and OUD among older adolescents and young adults. The studies will focus on strategies for settings that can identify and reach at-risk individuals and populations, such as health care, justice, school, and child welfare systems.

Program Details

Through the Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative, or NIH HEAL InitiativeSM, NIH has awarded 27 research grants as well as funding for a coordinating center for this program. These awards total approximately $61.8 million. 

Several of the research projects are funded through a UG3-UH3 Exploratory/Developmental Phased Award mechanism. With this mechanism, projects must achieve clearly identified milestones by the end of the prespecified UG3 phase to transition to the UH3 phase.

The coordinating center is funded through a U24 Resource-Related Research Projects mechanism. It will provide centralized logistical and data coordination support as well as scientific and content expertise to complement the individual research projects.

Research Examples

The research being undertaken will:

  • Target adolescent and young adult populations that are at risk of and particularly affected by opioid misuse and OUD, including American Indians/Alaska Natives, homeless individuals, young people in the juvenile or criminal justice system, and families involved in the child welfare system.
  • Create and test strategies to identify at-risk individuals and populations and to deliver prevention interventions and services in health care settings, including emergency departments, school-based health centers, and mental health and substance use behavioral health treatment settings.
  • Develop and test interventions for youth in or transitioning out of justice settings.

Research projects in this program will address implementation and sustainability challenges and include cost evaluation and cost analyses.

Research Institution Awards

  • Boston Medical Center – Massachusetts
  • Brown University – Rhode Island
  • Emory University – Georgia
  • Indian Health Council, Inc. – California
  • Johns Hopkins University – Maryland
  • Kaiser Foundation Research Institute – California
  • Massachusetts General Hospital – Massachusetts
  • New York University School of Medicine – New York
  • Ohio State University – Ohio
  • Oregon Health and Science University – Oregon
  • Oregon Social Learning Center – Oregon
  • RAND Corporation – California
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital – Washington
  • Texas Christian University – Texas
  • University of Maryland, College Park – Maryland
  • University of Michigan at Ann Arbor – Michigan
  • University of Oregon – Oregon
  • University of Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh – Pennsylvania
  • University of Washington – Washington
  • Washington University – Missouri
  • West Virginia University – West Virginia
  • Yale University – Connecticut

Coordinating Center Award

  • RTI Institute – North Carolina

Funded Projects

A digital intervention to prevent the initiation of opioid misuse in adolescents in school-based health centers
Sep 25, 2019
Accelerator Strategies for States to Improve System Transformations Affecting Children Youth and Families
Sep 25, 2019
AOD Use Trajectories from Age 10 to 24: Multi-level Predictors, Health and Behavioral Functioning, and Racial/ethnic Disparitie
Sep 25, 2019
Brief Individual and Parent Interventions for Marijuana Misuse in Truant Adolescents
Sep 25, 2019
Using SMART Design to Identify an Effective and Cost-Beneficial Approach to Preventing OUD in Justice-Involved Youth
Mar 19, 2020

Closed Funding Opportunities

Mentored Research Scientist Development Award (Parent K01)
Sep 25, 2019
HEAL Initiative: Request for Administrative Supplements to Existing Grants to Accelerate Research on Preventing Opioid Use Disorder in Older Adolescents and Young Adults (ages 16-30)
Sep 25, 2019