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. The ongoing opioid crisis presents an urgent public health need to quickly expand the CTN. The expansion, which is part of the Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative, or NIH HEAL InitiativeSM, will enhance the CTN’s ability to use cutting-edge research designs, methods, and data resources to address opioid use in areas of the country that the opioid epidemic affects most.

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. Through its work to date, the network has contributed to broad-reaching changes in medical practice, including the development of the opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment medication buprenorphine.

The expansion effort will:

  • Strengthen the CTN’s capacity to conduct trials by adding new sites and new investigators.
  • Expand existing studies in the network and initiate research with new investigators in new locations and settings — such as primary care and criminal justice — that are hit hard by the opioid crisis.
  • Facilitate the development and implementation of new studies to improve access to high-quality addiction treatment, including by facilitating delivery of OUD treatment in general medical settings.
  • Create new opportunities for clinical and research training.

Program Details

Through the NIH HEAL Initiative, NIH has awarded five grants to establish new CTN nodes:

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

Additional grants awarded will support the expansion of research projects at existing nodes. To date, these grants total approximately $305.7 million. These awards will support clinical research into opioid use and addiction. The research will also explore innovative methods to improve participant recruitment and retention for clinical trials.

Research Examples

NIH HEAL Initiative projects being carried out through the CTN include:

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

New CTN Nodes

  • Rush University Medical Center – Illinois
  • University of California, Los Angeles – California
  • University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center – New Mexico
  • University of Pittsburgh at Pittsburgh – Pennsylvania
  • University of Utah – Utah

Research Institutions

  • Dartmouth College New Hampshire
  • Duke University – North Carolina 
  • Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute  – Pennsylvania 
  • Johns Hopkins University  Maryland
  • Kaiser Foundation Research Institute – California
  • McLean Hospital – Massachusetts
  • Medical University of South Carolina – South Carolina
  • Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation Minnesota
  • New York University New York
  • University of California, San Francisco – California
  • University of Cincinnati – Ohio
  • University of Miami Florida
  • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas Texas 
  • University of Washington – Washington

Coordination and Translation Center

  • Emmes Corporation – Maryland

Funded Projects

Quantifying How Cocaine Users Respond to Fentanyl Contamination in Cocaine
Oct 12, 2021
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
Emergency Department-INitiated bupreNOrphine and VAlidaTIOn Network Trial (ED-INNOVATION)
Sep 20, 2021
Developing an intervention to address intersecting prescription opioid and chronic pain stigma in cancer survivors
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