Recognizing the national opioid epidemic in the United States, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has allocated a new funding stream for new research to address public health issues like prescription drug abuse and overdose.

Through the Helping to End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL) Initiative, the NIH is offering 30 funding opportunities for researchers, awarding $850 million in support.

The NIH designated six areas of interest:

  • Opioid addiction and overdose medications
  • Implementation science for preventing and treating addiction
  • Addiction prevention and treatment
  • Preclinical research on pain
  • Clinical trials on pain management
  • Improving outcomes in infants and children exposed to opioids

According to NIH’s announcement, the agency will fund research to “understand innovative clinical trial design and a wide range of pain conditions to help us build a clinical trial network that can evaluate the full spectrum of potential strategies for pain management.” 

NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, also reiterated the agency’s intent to identify and connect neurologic aspects of addiction and treatment. The Trump administration has been vocal about its support for curbing the national opioid epidemic, funding provisions to examine, understand, and attack the growing problem.