HEALing Communities Study
The HEALing Communities Study will test the integration of prevention, overdose treatment, and medication-based treatment in select communities hard hit by the opioid crisis. This comprehensive treatment model will be tested in a coordinated array of settings, including primary care, emergency departments, and other community settings. Findings will establish best practices for integrating prevention and treatment strategies that can be replicated by communities nationwide.
About the Program
NIH and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration launched the HEALing Communities Study to investigate how tools for preventing and treating opioid misuse and OUD are most effective at the local level.
This multi-site implementation research study will test the impact of an integrated set of evidence-based practices across health care, behavioral health, justice, and other community-based settings. The goal of the study is to reduce opioid-related overdose deaths by 40 percent over the course of three years. Research sites are partnering with 67 communities highly affected by the opioid crisis in four states to measure the impact of these efforts.
The study will look at the effectiveness of coordinated systems of care designed to increase the number of individuals receiving medication to treat OUD, increase the distribution of naloxone, and reduce high-risk opioid prescribing. The study also supports harm reduction research to investigate the effectiveness of rapid-acting fentanyl test strips in modifying drug use behaviors and exploring drug checking needs in clinical settings.
Kentucky is ground zero of the opioid overdose epidemic. Since the 1990s, Kentuckians have been devastated by this unrelenting crisis, and they have persevered in their continued efforts to save lives.
The University of Kentucky has been conducting research to fight the epidemic from its early days. We’ve been very successful doing experiments, collecting data, and demonstrating what’s effective for treating opioid use disorder. But we haven’t been able to fully deploy that knowledge.
Boston Medical Center’s research team brings decades of experience treating people with substance use disorder to ending the opioid overdose epidemic across Massachusetts. In collaboration with HEAL communities’ grassroots coalitions, we’re committed to bridging the gaps that prevent people with opioid use disorder from accessing quality care and treatment.
New York Snapshot
New Yorkers impacted by the opioid overdose epidemic live in rural, suburban, and urban counties that lack resources, service integration, and access to data that could help them turn the tide on the crisis. Columbia University is working hard to bring attention and innovation to these highly affected communities to reverse the alarming increase in opioid overdose deaths they have seen in recent years.
The Ohio State University is partnering with the University of Cincinnati, Case Western Reserve University, Ohio University, the University of Toledo, Wright State University, RecoveryOhio, and Ohio communities to assemble a research team that embodies a collaborative spirit, reflects strong institutional identity, uplifts family and community values, and honors diverse demographic and ideological identities.
- Boston Medical Center – Massachusetts
- Columbia University – New York
- The Ohio State University – Ohio
- University of Kentucky – Kentucky
Data Coordinating Center
- RTI International – North Carolina
Closed Funding Opportunities
More than 115 Americans die from opioid overdose every day. That's four times higher than the number of opioid overdose deaths that occurred 20 years ago.
View Other Research Programs in This Focus Area
- Behavioral Research to Improve Medication-Based Treatment (BRIM)
- Enhancing the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network to Address Opioids
- Harm Reduction Approaches to Reduce Overdose Death
- Improving Delivery of Healthcare Services for Polysubstance Use
- Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN)
- Recovery Research Networks
- The Continuum of Care in Hospitalized Patients with Opioid Use Disorder and Infectious Complications of Drug Use (CHOICE)