On April 18, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) together with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced research sites in four states will receive funding as part of the Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative HEALing Communities Study. Each state will engage stakeholders and researchers across 15 communities in their state that have been most affected by the opioid crises to implement, monitor, and evaluate evidence-based treatment interventions, with the goal to reduce opioid overdose deaths by up to 40% in the next 3 years. More than $350 million will support the multi-year study under a cooperative agreement. The awarded states include Kentucky, led by Sharon Walsh at the University of Kentucky, Massachusetts, led by CHERISH investigator Jeffrey Samet at Boston Medical Center, New York, led by Nabila El-Bassel at Columbia University, and Ohio, led by Rebecca Jackson at Ohio State University.
All sites will work with a coordinating center at Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International co-led by Rick Williams, CHERISH Research Affiliate Gary Zarkin, and Kevin Conway. This Center will be responsible for data analysis, health economics research, and widespread dissemination of research findings over the course of the study.
As part of the HEALing Communities Study call for proposals, NIDA emphasized the importance of integrating health economics research to address affordability, scalability and sustainability of evidence-based treatment interventions for opioid use disorder. CHERISH is proud to participate in the economic component of the study. CHERISH Investigators will provide economic expertise to the Kentucky (Kathryn McCollister), Massachusetts (Benjamin Linas and Sean Murphy), and New York (Bruce Schackman). Additionally Drs. McCollister and Schackman are collaborating with RTI on the cross-site economic evaluation.