NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins stated today that the NIH HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM) Initiative is taking an “all-hands-on deck” approach to the national opioid crisis, requiring “almost every NIH IC to attack the problem from all angles.” The nation’s opioid crisis claims the lives of over 115 Americans every day—with 46 of those deaths attributed to prescription opioids. We at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) seek to address a contributing cause of this epidemic—reliance on opioids for chronic pain management. The high prevalence of acute and chronic pain is a contributor to the initiation and long-term use of opioids. New treatment options for acute and chronic pain are needed to reduce exposure to the risks associated with opioid use.
Through the NIH HEAL Initiative, more than $850 million will be awarded in fiscal year 2019, bolstering existing research in the areas of addiction, pain, complementary medicine, and more to accelerate scientific solutions to the national opioid crisis. In fact, NIH published more than 30 new targeted funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) under the HEAL Initiative on December 10, 2018, to solicit the best and brightest research ideas to address the national opioid crisis.
NCCIH is proud to be an active participant in the NIH HEAL Initiative, particularly focusing on nondrug approaches for pain management and the treatment of opioid use disorders (OUD). These research interests are captured in NIH’s HEAL scientific research plan, which includes research priorities reflecting urgent unmet needs across the lifespan, areas of promising scientific opportunity, and concrete strategies capable of providing rapid and durable solutions to the opioid crisis. NCCIH’s scientific focus is specifically aligned with two key areas in the HEAL research plan —Improving Prevention and Treatment for Opioid Misuse and Addiction, and Enhancing Pain Management.
As a HEAL participant, NCCIH is leading, co-leading, and supporting numerous FOAs. Some funding opportunities request research proposals to assess effectiveness, integration, and implementation of complementary pain management interventions in health care systems. Other FOAs address the treatment of OUD. There are short turnaround times for applying to these FOAs. We want to be sure that our research community is aware of all new funding opportunities. And, we enthusiastically welcome new communities of researchers to review our FOAs and apply when research interests overlap with our mission and priorities.
In the coming weeks, NCCIH staff will post additional blogs providing details about the NCCIH-led FOAs, technical assistance webinars, and other resources to help you prepare your research proposals.