HEAL Opioid Initiative Stresses Non-Opioid Therapies and Reducing Overprescription

April 5, 2018

The National Institutes of Health launched a new initiative to address the opioid crisis, increasing funding for research on opioid misuse, addiction and pain from approximately $600 million in fiscal year 2016 to $1.1 billion for fiscal 2018.

NIH Director Francis Collins, who announced the program at the 2018 National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, said the Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) initiative will focus on ways to “reduce over prescription of opioids, accelerate development of effective non-opioid therapies for pain, and provide more flexible options for treating opioid addiction.”

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, in remarks at the summit, said “the number of prescriptions being written is still too high,” adding that “in too many cases, addiction still starts with a prescriber’s pen, either directly or indirectly through prescription drugs left over, and acquired or stolen from friends or family members.”

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