NIH Launches New Initiative to Combat Opioid Crisis

Dr Frances Collins

NIH Increases Funding to Fight Opioid Crisis

Dr. Frances Collins announced a new NIH initiative to combat the opioid crisis aimed at bolstering research to prevent addiction through better pain management.

As reported by the Courier Journal, the NIH will significantly boost research on addiction and opioid abuse through a near-doubling of funds, and will focus on treatment, prevention and the search for non-addictive therapies for pain.

The aim is to stem a crisis that devastates millions of families and kills 115 Americans every day.

NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins announced the initiative Wednesday morning at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, which has drawn 3,000 experts in areas such as addiction, medicine, law enforcement.

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Collins said the initiative — Helping to End Addiction Long-term, or HEAL — is made possible by Congress’ $500 million boost in NIH funding, making for a total of $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2018.

Collins said his agency will bolster research to prevent addiction through better pain management. This includes studying patients after surgery to identify biomarkers that might predict which are more likely to develop chronic pain. It also involves looking into genetic and social factors that put patients at risk for opioid addiction. And it includes determining and supporting the best ways to manage pain using non-drug therapies and pursuing public-private partnerships to develop new non-addictive pain medicines.

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To learn more about a new NIH initiative aimed at combatting the opioid crisis, please visit the Courier Journal.

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