National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)
NIH…Turning Discovery Into Health

Información en Español

Health Topics A-Z

NCCIH Research Blog

New Grants To Study Behavioral Interventions for Opioid Addiction and Recovery

September 20, 2018
Robin Elizabeth Boineau, M.D.
Robin Boineau, M.D.

Medical Officer
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
View Dr. Boineau's biographical sketch

Overdose deaths, opioid misuse, addiction to prescription opioids or to illicit drugs such as heroin, and chronic pain management are tough problems that are often related to each other. Together, they form a daunting public health crisis that is of great concern and significance to many in the United States, including the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and much of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). 

Yesterday, NCCIH announced six awards to study innovative behavioral health approaches to enhance adherence to medications treating opioid use disorder (OUD). Medication assisted therapy, also referred to as MAT, consists of specific medicines that are prescribed by health care professionals for their patients with substance use disorders to reduce future episodes of opioid use. These grants for behavioral intervention studies align with interest at the Center in research on nonpharmacologic approaches and on integration of evidence-based treatments.

In addition to support from NCCIH, funding for these awards will come from the National Institutes of Health’s HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative. All six grants will be administered by NCCIH.

This grant program supplements a $1 billion initiative from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) State Targeted Response (STR) to the Opioid Crisis Grants initiative, also known as Opioid STR grants. As part of the 21st Century Cures Act, Opioid STR grants have been distributed to all 50 U.S. states, U.S. territories, and free-associated states to expand access to evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery support services; reduce unmet treatment needs; and help to prevent opioid overdose deaths. The six research awards will examine the impact of behavioral and complementary health interventions within the context of states’ plans for use of Opioid STR grant funds. 

The new grants will study:

  • “Mindfulness Oriented Recovery Enhancement” program added to methadone treatment in patients with OUD and chronic pain 
  • A portable, scalable telephone intervention to enhance MAT adherence and help manage pain in patients with OUD 
  • A mobile app that combines cognitive behavioral therapy with contingency management for improving adherence to MAT  
  • A relapse prevention strategy that adds yoga and mindfulness to MAT for pregnant women with OUD 
  • A mind and body intervention, “Mindful Awareness in Body-oriented Therapy,” as an adjunct to MAT, to be tested in two clinical settings  
  • Mindfulness training for OUD and anxiety, delivered within a group-based treatment program in primary care.

NCCIH is funding these studies to assess whether mind and body interventions may improve adherence to known effective therapies to treat OUD and test whether they can also treat painful conditions that require better and safer treatments. We are committed to working with Federal and state partners to address the opioid crisis. 

For More Information:


Comments are now closed for this post.

Why no grants to study acpuncture, when clinacl efficacy in treatment of cancer (during 3 main phases: chemo, mastecomy scarring, 3rd degree radation burns)  has been well established for a decade yet, yey IGNORED for pain managment and as ajunct to MAT? What the WHAT NIC?

I’m a certified Hypnotist (2010) and psychiatric RN ( 1984) who has been trying to be a part of solving opioid problem. I was to be hired by several recovery programs as their in house hypnotist. ( they didn’t know how to pay me) please addres why HYPNOSIS ( a powerful natural way to change “habits”) is not being used? Or studied? Or given the attention it deserves? How can I retain a grant to use hypnosis to  work with addicts? And to do hypnosis as a preventative intervention? Jan Lee CH, RN7243511242

We work with chronic back pain patients in a busy neurosurgical practice and would like to study the effect of incorporating a mindfulness oriented program into their therapy to mitigate pain medication use.  Are their any funding opportunities through NCCIH to support such an initiative? Thank you for any information that you can provide.

Mindfulness is certainly being given the lion’s share of attention in this round of funding and I would hope that at some point serious consideration will be given to proposals employing operant conditioning techniques, e.g., peripheral and central nervous system biofeedback training. Considerable evidence exists in the peer-reviewed literature regarding the efficacy of biofeedback training as a pain management technique. CNS or brainwave biofeedback is proving to be a robust and easily deployed treatment modality that is accessible to a very diverse population as there are minimal physical, cultural (language) and cognitive barriers to effective delivery of treatment.  Our research has shown that this type of therapeutic intervention, especially when combined with photobiomodulation (near infrared light stimulation) to be very effective in remediating physical and behavioral symptoms associated with neurodegenerative disorders. I think it worth studying its efficacy with this population. Marvin H Berman PhD Quietmind Foundation

[commercial link removed, per policy]

@Marvin H Berman Thank you for your thoughtful comments. We encourage you to take a look at our Active Funding Announcements and apply for any opportunities that match your interests and qualifications:

@Michele Sciamanna Current funding opportunities are available on our “Grants and Funding” page of our website at We encourage you to apply for any opportunities that match your interests and qualifications.

@Cripgirl  We hear your frustration about researching acupuncture for pain. Although acupuncture is being researched, we know establishing the safety and efficacy through research can be time consuming. To learn more about the studies being done for pain using acupuncture, please search the NIH Reporter database at The NIH RePORTER, an online database of federally funded research projects, includes descriptions of projects and published research results.  

I am a DNP-FNP student and I also run an integrative medicine program.  I use cranial electrical stimulation for pain and anxiety in patients with SCI and complexed medical rehab patients.  I would very much like to learn how to design and implement a study at my hospital using this technique.  Research is not as plentiful as in other complementary/nonpharmacological studies researching pain, but there is evidence.  With the opioid epidemic and the fact that so many people just can’t use narcotics for what ever reason, CES has great potential and has no real risks or side-effects.  I am sincerely looking for guidance and support to pursue this further.  I believe that the potential is there especially for the population of people that I serve and hope to serve even more once I complete my degree…the underserve, uninsuranced and predominately black adult population who just don’t have access or knowledge (or the desire) to do accupuncture, tai chi, massage, etc…I look forward to hearing from you.Thank you,Victoria

I don’t see any funding for energy medicine research as well as hypnotherapy. I have known several people who have had luck with both modalities in healing various issues.

Acupuncture is a safe and EFFECTIVE form of treatment for addiction. Please consider allocating funds toward TCM - Traditional Chinese Medicine which includes Chinese herbal therapy and Acupuncture. Please go to and learn about what we are accomplishing with the Veterans Administration.

This page last modified September 21, 2018