Addressing opioid overdose deaths: The vision for the HEALing communities study


The United States is facing two devastating public health crises– the opioid epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic. Within this context, one of the most ambitious implementation studies in addiction research is moving forward. Launched in May 2019, the HEALing Communities Study (HCS) was developed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as part of the Helping to End Addiction Long-termSM Initiative (National Institutes of Health, 2020). The goal for this research was to reduce opioid overdose deaths by 40 % in three years by enhancing and integrating the delivery of multiple evidence-based practices (EBPs) with proven effectiveness in reducing opioid overdose deaths across health care, justice, and community settings. This paper describes the initial vision, goals, and objectives of this initiative; the impact of COVID-19; and the potential for knowledge to be generated from HCS at the intersection of an unrelenting epidemic of opioid misuse and overdoses and the ravishing COVID-19 pandemic.

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CHIME Opioid Action Center

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