NIH-wide Pain and Opioid Initiatives

The OBSSR is playing a significant role in the Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative, or HEAL Initiative, a trans-agency effort focused on improving prevention and treatment strategies for opioid misuse and addiction, and enhancing pain management. Launched in April 2018 with funding from Congress, the HEAL Initiative brings new hope for people, families, and communities affected by the national opioid public health crisis. Learn more about the NIH HEAL Notices of Funding Opportunities.

As part of the NIH efforts to advance scientific breakthroughs for discovery of new and more effective approaches to prevent opioid misuse, treat opioid use disorders, and manage pain , OBSSR, in collaboration with NIDA, NINDS, NCCIH and NIMHD, cohosted a meeting as part of the NIH initiative Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL). The goals of this meeting in March 2018, Contributions of Social and Behavioral Research in Addressing the Opioid Crisis (CSBR-AOC), included the identification of key scientific information and research priorities that would inform strategies and interventions for the prevention and treatment of opioid use disorder and for pain management.

In follow-up to the March 2018 meeting, a strategic planning committee (NIH Strategic Planning Committee on Contributions of Social and Behavioral Research in Addressing the Opioid Crisis (CSBR-AOC)) was created that included senior-level staff from 23 NIH institutes and centers. The participants were charged with identifying resources, additional goals, potential areas for further development, and other strategies to integrate the key recommendations from the March meeting into contributions to the broader NIH mission to combat the opioid and pain crises. These include funding announcements (; meetings, such as the workshop on the contributions of behavioral, social, and biological factors to pain measurement (summary, executive summary, videocast day 1, videocast day 2); a fact sheet; and other resources and activities. Learn more about the activities of the CSBR-AOC.

A major priority of the CSBR-AOC committee was to continue to provide opportunities for integrating expertise and perspectives from a broad range of communities into NIH efforts related to the opioid and pain crises in the United States. On behalf of the committee, OBSSR commissioned this special issue in the American Journal of Public Health (AJPH) that provides opportunities for integrating varied expertise and perspectives from a wide range of communities into NIH behavioral and social sciences research efforts related to the opioid and pain crises in the U.S.

Through multiple commentaries, this supplement issue of AJPH is designed to bring as many of those perspectives as possible to the interpretation and understanding of research articles that focus on social and behavioral components to these two related crises. Commentaries in the AJPH supplement “US Opioid and Pain Crises: Gaps and Opportunities in Multidisciplinary Research,” provide legal, government, research, advocate, lived experience, military implications, and racial disparity perspectives.