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All-Hands-on-Deck: NCCIH Needs You To Respond to the NIH HEAL Initiative

December 10, 2018
Helene Langevin, M.D.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
View Dr. Langevin's biographical sketch

shurtleffDavid Shurtleff, Ph.D.
Deputy Director
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
View Dr. Shurtleff's biographical sketch

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.


Comments are now closed for this post.

Hello. I work at Oriana House, a Chemical Dependency treatment agency based in Ohio and would liketo know if there is an opportunity for our agency to collaborate with research institutions to be involved in the treatment of opiod misuse.  Our agency is located in the unfortunate ‘mecca’ of opiod abuse/misuse in the United States and we therefore, have a client base that would be prime for impact of such research.     Alternatively, if there are funds available for our agency to help our client base recover/”HEAL” from these addictions, please let us know.  Thank you in advance for your response.

When big pharma embraces cannabis, this and other self medicating issues will resolve.

Friends:Just met with Ohio’s Drug Task Force Team to share an innovative solution to the misuse and management of opioids in Ohio, and potentially all across the USA.  Governor elect Mike DeWine’s leadership said my presentation to his task force “exceeded their expections”.Let’s stop the talking and take action in saving lives, many lives!We are preparing to conduct in 2019 product trials at Cedarville University School of Pharmacy.Come join with us…RECOVERY OHIOI am most pleased to share this innovative technology solution with anyone that would be interested.   TyThe Ohio Inventor   

The HEAL Initiative sounds like a good idea, from my perspective, as a disabled sexagenarian female college graduate performance artist and writer who was injured on the job with resultant chronic headaches, and was prescribed opioid medicine but refused to utilise the prescription.. Keep up the good work!

There is a “Possible” solution  to the Opioid epidemic.  It’s the Limoge’ Wave form given by TCES.  At present it is in the regular path for approval.   A study [was] done in France in 1999 that had an 80% cure rate for Heroin addiction. 

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Scientific research is now supporting the efficacy of homeopathy. Hypericum is very effective in treating nerve pain. 

Coincidentally, and importantly, the American Journal of Public Health (Am J P H. 2018;108(12):1626-1631) recently published findings that likely point to the underlaying factors in the current opoid crisis, “America’s Declining Well-Being, Health, and Life Expectancy: Not Just a White Problem”.  Add to this the medical establishment’s limited ability to adequately address pain experienced by patients.

Thats a great Article. Thank you for sharing. 

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@Vida  Thanks for your interest in the NIH HEAL Initiative. We encourage you to search the NIH RePORTER (an online database of federally funded research projects) at to identify researchers in your state doing pragmatic and implementation clinical trials in your area of interest. In these types of clinical trials, researchers are implementing studies with patients in a real world setting. By contacting researchers, your agency may be able to partner with a researcher and develop a research proposal to apply to the appropriate HEAL opportunity. You may want to review our funding opportunities and attend the technical assistance videocast on January 14, 2019, which is related to the funding opportunity on behavioral interventions to improve adherence to MAT, improve MAT outcomes, and reduce relapse.

The US response to the opioid crisis has left many chronic pain patiens needlessly suffering.As a nurse, researcher and certified clinical aromatherapist, I can attest to the pain-reducing effects of botanical extracts/essential oils. I anticipate their inclusion as a complementary therapy for mild to moderate pain in medical centers in the near future.

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