AHRQ Announces Interest in Health Services Research to Address the Opioids Crisis-Expired September 30, 2021


The purpose of this Notice is to inform the research community that the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is interested in receiving health services research grant applications to advance our nation’s understanding of the opioids crisis and provide solutions for addressing it.

This effort is part of AHRQ’s commitment to supporting the HHS 5-point strategy to address the opioids crisis: Better addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery services, Better data, Better targeting of overdose-reversing drugs, Better pain management, and Better research.  AHRQ already is contributing to the HHS strategy by funding research to increase the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in primary care practice; supporting the development of systematic evidence reviews; making available implementation tools, and producing actionable data utilizing the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project.

In this SEN, AHRQ is interested in health services research to improve pain management, opioid abuse prevention, opioid abuse treatment and recovery, and overdose prevention and treatment with a high degree of interest applications that respond to the following three specific areas of focus:

  1. Evaluating state, local, and health system policy efforts to address the opioids crisis:  Many state and local governments and large health systems are enacting policies to address the opioid crisis, including improving pain management.  There is enormous potential to learn from these local experiences and provide evidence-based guidance to policy makers about the effects, including understanding the unintended consequences, of new policies.  AHRQ is interested in supporting rapid-cycle, high-quality evaluations of policy interventions and strongly encourages collaboration with policy implementers (including government agencies and health systems) within proposals.
  2. Developing and evaluating interventions to prevent progression to opioid use disorders in people who are misusing or have experimented with opioids:  While there are evidence-based interventions, including medication-assisted treatment, for people with opioids use disorder, far less is known about how health care delivery systems can assist people who have used opioids non-medically but are not addicted.
  3. Understanding and addressing the rapid increase in opioid-related hospitalizations among older adults.  AHRQ data have demonstrated that prescription opioids use has increased among adults 65 years of age and older with a corresponding increase in the rates of opioid-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations.  The reasons for the high use of opioids and the adverse effects among the elderly are not widely understood and interventions to address the opioid crisis targeting the needs of younger adults and heroin users may not be applicable to this population.

AHRQ has a particular interest in health service research applications that address the experience, needs, preferences, and outcomes of priority populations including children and adolescents, women, older adults, people with chronic medical conditions, racial and ethnic minorities, low-income, and rural populations.

The Agency encourages research teams to submit applications in response to this emphasis using AHRQ’s standing R18, R03, and R01 funding mechanisms (PA-18-793PA-18-794PA-18-795). AHRQ also is interested in receiving career development awards (PA-16-223 and PA-17-232) that propose developing generalizable health service research skills through projects related to the opioids crisis.  Additionally, AHRQ has interest in receiving dissertation award grant proposals that relate to the opioid crisis (PA-18-765).

Applicants should clearly state in their cover letter and project summary of their grant application that they are responding to this SEN by including the title and number of this SEN (NOT-HS-18-015).  Applications responding to this SEN should be submitted on regular application receipt dates identified in the respective Funding Opportunity Announcement and will be reviewed by AHRQ standing study sections. Applicants should consider this SEN active until September 30, 2021.


Please direct all inquiries to:

Lisa Scott-Morring, MS, MSHS, CRA
Director, Division for Policy, Coordination and Analysis
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, HHS
Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations
Email: [email protected]

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CHIME Opioid Action Center

710 Avis Drive, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108


Phone: 1.734.665.0000


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