News Release

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

NIH announces awards for behavioral research on OUD prevention and treatment

Six research awards totaling $9.4 million over three years will study the impact of behavioral interventions for primary or secondary prevention of opioid use disorder (OUD), or as a complement to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) of OUD. Researchers will examine whether select behavioral interventions such as mindfulness meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, or multidisciplinary rehabilitation improve adherence to and retention in MAT or reduce resumption of drug use in individuals with OUD. In addition to support from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), funding for these awards will come from the National Institutes of Health’s HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative. All six grants will be administered by NCCIH.

This grant program supplements a $1 billion initiative from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) State Targeted Response (STR) to the Opioid Crisis Grants initiative, also known as Opioid STR grants. As part of the 21st Century Cures Act, Opioid STR grants have been distributed to all 50 U.S. states, U.S. territories, and free-associated states to expand access to evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery support services; reduce unmet treatment needs; and help to prevent opioid overdose deaths. The six research awards will examine the impact of behavioral and complementary health interventions within the context of states’ plans for use of Opioid STR grant funds. As such, each of the funded research projects includes relevant state agency staff to ensure adequate input on study design from the SAMHSA-funded projects.

“Researchers, health professionals, and community members all have a role in implementing evidence-based prevention and treatment strategies for OUD,” said David Shurtleff, Ph.D., NCCIH acting director. “Amid the opioid crisis and related pain management issues, the influx of SAMHSA and HEAL funding provides an opportunity to study, in a clinical setting, whether complementary approaches in combination with certain psychosocial interventions and medications can further improve treatment outcomes and/or help manage co-occurring pain.” NCCIH currently spends about 40 percent of its budget researching pain and nondrug approaches to pain management.

As phased innovation awards, the first phase of these grants will support the development of preliminary data and feasibility studies. The second phase is designed to support conduct of the research study after an administrative review with attention to whether milestones have been met. The new projects include:

  • Mindfulness-oriented Recovery Enhancement as an Adjunct to Methadone Treatment for Opioid Use and Chronic Pain Management; Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, New Jersey; Drs. Nina Cooperman and Anna Kline. This project will study the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement (MORE) as an adjunct to MAT in patients with OUD and chronic pain. (Grant 1R21AT010109)
  • Psychosocial Pain Management to Improve Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Outcomes; University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Dr. Mark A. Ilgen. This project will assess the development of a portable and scalable intervention for addressing pain in patients with OUD through a phone intervention. (Grant 1R21AT010106)
  • Comprehensive CBT via reSET for a Hub and Spoke MAT System of Care; Pennsylvania State University, University Park, and Columbia University, New York City; Drs. Sarah S. Kawasaki and Edward V. Nunes. This project will examine a mobile app that includes components of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management (CM) to improve adherence to MAT. (Grant 1R21AT010118)
  • Mindful Moms in Recovery: Yoga-based Mindfulness Relapse Prevention for Pregnant Women with Opioid Disorder; Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire; Drs. Sarah E. Lord and Daisy J. Goodman. This project will test a yoga-based mindfulness relapse prevention program called Mindful Moms in Recovery (MMORE), which will target pregnant women in their second or early third trimester and who are on MAT for OUD. (Grant 1R21AT010117)
  • Mindful Body Awareness Training as an Adjunct to Medication-assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder; University of Washington, Seattle; Dr. Cynthia J. Price. This project will test a mind-body intervention, Mindful Awareness in Body-oriented Therapy (MABT), as an adjunct to MAT in two clinical settings. (Grant 1R21AT009932)
  • Effect of Mindfulness Training on Opioid Use and Anxiety During Primary Care Buprenorphine Treatment; Cambridge Health Alliance, Massachusetts; Dr. Zev Schuman-Olivier. This project will evaluate a Mindful Recovery OUD Care Continuum (M-ROCC) with up to three phases delivered within a group-based opioid treatment program in primary care versus a group-based program alone. (Grant 1R21AT010125)

About the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH): NCCIH’s mission is to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative health approaches and their roles in improving health and health care. For additional information, call NCCIH’s Clearinghouse toll free at 1-888-644-6226. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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