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.
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 $207.3 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.
NIH HEAL Initiative projects being carried out through the CTN include:
- Prevention of Progression to Moderate or Severe Opioid Use Disorder: Subthreshold Opioid Use Disorder Prevention (STOP) Intervention
- Optimizing Retention, Duration, and Discontinuation Strategies for Opioid Use Disorder Pharmacotherapy
- Medication treatment for Opioid-dependent expecting Mothers (MOMs): A Pragmatic Randomized Trial Comparing Extended-Release and Daily Buprenorphine Formulations
- Surmounting Withdrawal to Initiate Fast Treatment with Naltrexone (SWIFT): Improving the Real-World Effectiveness of Injection Naltrexone for Opioid Use Disorder
- Exemplar Hospital Initiation Trial to Enhance Treatment Engagement (EXHIT ENTRE)
- Emergency Department-INitiated bupreNOrphine and VAlidaTIOn Network Trial (ED-INNOVATION)
- Rural Expansion of Medication Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder
- Ancillary Study of the Adoption and Sustainability of Emergence Department-Initiated Buprenorphine
- Expanding Clinical Research Training on Implementing the Evidence-Based Hub and Spoke Model of Medication for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD)
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
- Dartmouth College – New Hampshire
- Duke University – North Carolina
- 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