The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) will collaborate with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to initiate the HEALing Communities Study as part of the National Institute of Health HEAL initiative . The HEALing Communities study is a multi-site national research effort that aims to develop and implement evidence-based interventions to prevent and treat opioid use disorder in up to three communities. The study hopes to engage community stakeholders within the healthcare, behavioral health, justice systems and community organizations. NIDA has announced a request for information to solicit input from the research community and stakeholders on study elements including the economic questions required to inform systems and policy change. Responses to the request for information will be accepted until July 20, 2018.
To begin the discussion, NIDA brought together scientific experts, state and federal partners to discuss the HEALing Communities study design at a workshop on June 18. At this workshop, CHERISH Director Dr. Bruce Schackman and Dr. David Paltiel of Yale University presented on the potential role of health economics research in the HEALing Communities study to address affordability, scalability and sustainability. They pointed out that implementing evidence-based practices requires recognizing that these investments may not have an immediate a return, and that the entity making the initial investment may not be the one that receives the economic return. They also discussed the potential to use models to assess community treatment capacity, evaluate the value of future research through value of information analysis, and project economic benefits of treating opioid use disorder including quality of life and productivity improvements. The videocast of the entire Design Workshop is available on the NIDA website.