There are proven, effective prevention methods and treatments for opioid use disorder and overdose, but only 20 percent of people with opioid use disorder are receiving treatment and prevention strategies are not widely or well-implemented. To close the gap, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), as part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative, has awarded a team of Boston Medical Center/Boston University researchers $89 million as one of four sites in a $350 million national study called HEALing Communities. The study will test and develop effective strategies for getting proven prevention and treatment methods to the people who need them.
The Boston Medical Center (BMC) part of the study, called MassHEAL, aims to reduce Massachusetts opioid overdose deaths by 40 percent over the next three years. Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers are working with colleagues at BMC, the School of Medicine, and the School of Social Work on the project, and leading efforts in data management and methodology, communication strategy, and prevention-based interventions.
“Having worked on addiction for 25 years, the idea that an addiction study would even get close to what a heart study would get almost brings tears to your eyes,” says Dr. Richard Saitz, professor of community health sciences at BUSPH, who is leading the BUSPH side of the project.
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