The opioid epidemic continues to have a devastating impact on this nation. The CDC just released its latest figures on drug overdose death revealing that over 42,000 Americans died in 2016 from overdoses linked to opioids. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) just increased its funding to address the epidemic and introduced its HEAL Initiative.
The NIH Launches a New Initiative to Address Opioid Abuse
On April 4, the NIH launched its HEAL initiative, which stands for “Helping to End Addiction Long-term.” This is a trans-agency effort to boost scientific solutions that will slow our national opioid health crisis. As part of this effort, the NIH has nearly doubled the funds allocated for opioid research on addiction and pain, from roughly $600 million in 2016 to $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2018.
The NIH has been working with experts and stakeholders in various sectors and scientific disciplines to identify areas that require the most research to address the opioid crisis effectively. The focus of these efforts has been to identify ways to reduce the overprescribing of opioids, find alternatives for pain treatment, and locate the best methods for opioid addiction treatment.
Better Pain Management Solutions to Prevent Addiction
Part of the funds and efforts will go towards preventing opioid addiction through better pain management treatment. Some of their priorities include:
- Launching a study to follow patients post-surgery and after the onset of acute musculoskeletal pain to identify transition markers from acute to chronic pain;
- Develop a deeper understanding of the social and genetic factors that put patients at a higher risk for opioid addiction; and
- Support the development of non-opioid pain therapies and best practices for treating pain conditions.
The NIH Wants to Improve Addiction Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder
Even with some improvements in medical care and the awareness about these dangerous drugs, some people still become addicted. This does not make anyone a bad person, but merely a sick person that needs to get well. The NIH also wants to improve opioid addiction treatment in several ways:
- Expand the options available for the treatment of addiction, to include increased availability of Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT) and naloxone for reversing overdoses;
- Evaluation of addiction treatment options and additional study on the long-term effects of Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal Syndrome; and
- Work with state and federal partners to implement programs for addiction and prevention options in their criminal justice and healthcare settings.
Addiction is a powerful disease, and being trapped inside the walls of opioid addiction can be especially challenging. If you cannot stop using opioids, The Recovery Village can help.
Our comprehensive opioid addiction treatment programs combine medication-assisted therapy with precisely the type of treatment that fits your needs and circumstances. We offer outpatient and inpatient care, holistic therapies, treatment for co-occurring disorders, as well as aftercare so that you can safely make the transition to living a sober life independently.