Boston, MA: BMC reports – Boston Medical Center (BMC) was awarded $89 million in funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to lead a research study with the goal of reducing opioid deaths by 40% in some of the most heavily impacted Massachusetts communities in three years. BMC’s study is part of the NIH HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, a bold, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid crisis.

Led by Jeffrey Samet, MD, MA, MPH, Chief of General Internal Medicine at BMC and a professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, and in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, partner organizations and communities across the state, researchers will study innovative addiction treatment interventions in order to create a national model aimed at curbing the opioid crisis.

The approach of BMC’s study will be to partner with 16 communities across the state to test the impact of Office-Based Addiction Treatment (OBAT) and the deployment of additional interventions. Eight sites will implement OBAT and eight will implement OBAT and additional programs, such as community education, accelerated access to medication during hospitalization, jail, and detoxification as well as prevention and intervention programs in communities, schools, and doctor’s offices.

“The opioid crisis in Massachusetts has been devastating, as it has been across the country,” said Samet. “This research study is a major step forward. We will take what we’ve learned at Boston Medical Center and across Massachusetts over the past 20 years and work with our partners to bring those initiatives together to make a serious dent in the overdose death rate. It means pulling out all the stops.”

Massachusetts is a leader in clinical care innovations for substance use disorders that have saved lives, but even within the state, many of these care models are not widely available. Through BMC’s data and community-driven approaches, the researchers will work with communities to help address gaps in care and deploy innovative models of treatment that have been shown to support recovery.

“Two years ago, BMC launched the Grayken Center for Addiction to make a national impact in the fight against the opioid epidemic. This grant is further recognition of BMC’s expertise in this field and its longstanding commitment to forge strong partnerships with peers and community-based organizations and institutions to make a major impact on individuals and families affected by the opioid epidemic,” said BMC President and CEO Kate Walsh.

Known as HEALing Communities, the national study is being carried out in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which provides support for many of the local prevention, treatment and recovery support services to be studied.

Through innovative treatment, education, and research programs, the Grayken Center for Addiction at Boston Medical Center is committed to making long-term recovery a reality for every patient. From policy makers to clinicians to patients and families in crisis, people across the country turn to BMC for expertise in caring for patients with addiction. Over the last 25 years, BMC has become one of the most comprehensive and influential centers for addiction treatment in the country. BMC has created widely replicated care models and training programs for those at the front lines of the opioid crisis sweeping the nation. 

The Center was launched in 2017 with a generous gift from the Grayken family the largest private gift in the US in the last decade in the addiction field. With the US death rate from opioids now higher than it is for car accidents, the timing could not be more critical.

Today, the Center serves as the umbrella for all of BMC’s work in addiction and is a national resource for revolutionizing addiction treatment and education, replicating best practices, and providing policy, advocacy and thought leadership to the field.

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