Enhancing the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network to Address Opioids


The Research Need

The National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN) was established in 1999 to bridge the gap between research and practice to improve treatment of substance use disorders. It supports rigorous multisite clinical trials to determine the effectiveness of treatment and prevention strategies in a broad range of treatment settings and patient populations. The CTN is organized into multiple nodes located in areas of the country most affected by the opioid crisis and linked by central coordinating centers. Each node conducts research in collaboration with treatment sites that represent the continuum of care for people with substance use disorders.

About the Program

The CTN facilitates collaboration among researchers, medical and treatment providers, patients, and NIH staff to develop, test, and implement new addiction treatments. It expands research into settings that are significantly affected by the opioid crisis but often left out of research projects.

In 2019, the Helping to End Addiction Long-term® Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative®,  expanded the CTN by funding five additional nodes, strengthening the network by expanding existing studies and starting new research in new locations and settings hit hard by the opioid crisis.

Through these additional nodes, the program is strengthening the CTN’s ability to develop and implement new studies for improving access to high-quality addiction treatment—for example, in general medical settings rather than specialized treatment settings. It is also creating new opportunities for clinical and research training.

See a list of HEAL-funded CTN protocols on the National Institute on Drug Abuse website.

Open Funding Opportunities

HEAL Initiative: Career Development Awards in Implementation Science for Substance Use Prevention and Treatment (K01 - Clinical Trial Required)
Jul 14, 2022
HEAL Initiative: Career Development Awards in Implementation Science for Substance Use Prevention and Treatment (K23 - Clinical Trial Required)
Jul 14, 2022

Program Details

To date, through the Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or NIH HEAL Initiative, NIH has contributed $190.3 million through five awards to establish new CTN nodes:

  • Appalachian Node
  • Great Lakes Node
  • Greater Intermountain Node
  • Greater Southern California Node
  • Southwest Node

Additional grants were awarded to further expand the CTN’s opioid use disorder research investment through 24 new studies.

Research Examples

Research projects being carried out through the CTN include:  

  • Evaluating interventions to prevent people who misuse opioids but do not meet criteria for opioid use disorder from developing moderate or severe opioid use disorder
  • Comparing two types of medication therapy with buprenorphine for pregnant women with opioid use disorder in real-world settings
  • Studying the feasibility of various strategies for initiation of buprenorphine therapy and referral to long-term treatment for patients with opioid use disorder treated in emergency department settings
  • Assessing the effectiveness of monthly buprenorphine injections for treatment of methamphetamine use disorder
  • Evaluating the feasibility and effectiveness of collaborative care for treating patients with polysubstance use in primary care settings

Find information about other CTN studies, including those supported by the NIH HEAL Initiative.

New CTN Nodes

  • Appalachian Node – University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University
  • Great Lakes Node – University of Illinois Chicago
  • Greater Intermountain Node – University of Utah
  • Greater Southern California Node – University of California, Los Angeles
  • Southwest Node – University of New Mexico

Existing CTN Nodes

  • Big South-West Node – University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio California, Los Angeles, and University of Texas, San Antonio, and University of California, Los Angeles
  • Florida Node Alliance Node – University of Miami and Columbia University
  • Health Systems Node – Kaiser Foundation Research Institute
  • New England Consortium – Yale University and McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School
  • New York Node – New York University & Columbia University/New York State Psychiatric Institute
  • Northeast Node – Dartmouth College
  • Northstar Node – Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation
  • Ohio Valley Node – University of Cincinnati
  • Pacific Northwest Node – University of Washington and Washington State University
  • Southern Consortium Node – Medical University of South Carolina
  • Western States Node – Oregon Health & Science University and Stanford University

Coordinating Centers

  • Clinical Coordinating Center – The Emmes Corporation (Maryland)
  • Data & Statistics Center – The Emmes Corporation (Maryland)

Funded Projects

Exploring Health Beliefs for Community Engagement and Diversity in Clinical Trials
Oct 12, 2021
HEAL Diversity Supplement: Great Lakes Nodes Clinical Trials Network
Oct 12, 2021
Quantifying How Cocaine Users Respond to Fentanyl Contamination in Cocaine
Oct 12, 2021
Emergency Department-INitiated bupreNOrphine and VAlidaTIOn Network Trial (ED-INNOVATION)
Sep 20, 2021
NorthStar Node of the Clinical Trials Network-Bring two lines of research together to help primary care clinicians (PCCs) recognize and address increased risk of suicide for people at elevated risk of opioid use disorder (OUD)
Sep 29, 2020

Closed Funding Opportunities

The National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (UG1)
Sep 25, 2019
The National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (UG1 Clinical Trial Optional)
Sep 25, 2019

Participating NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices