The Opioid Crisis – What’s in Store for 2020?

PR Newswire PR Newswire • November 15, 2019

As society continues working on solutions to reduce the number of opioid addiction cases and overdoses, many people wonder what is on the horizon for 2020. Federal and state governments continue to ramp up efforts to fight the opioid crisis, and yet despite new programs and summits being proposed, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has reported some significant cuts to the funding for research and grants to unveil new approaches and effective solutions.

Programs Receiving Cuts in Funding

The NIDA reports that President Trump’s new budget for 2020 includes cuts in funding to all aspects of its research regarding drug addiction, which includes the opioid crisis. Relative to 2019 funds, there will be a $7 million cut to research management and support. A $9.6 million reduction to funding will impact intramural research alone, and research centers will lose $5.9 million in funding. The most significant cuts are to other research, which will lose $43.2 million in 2020, and to research project grants, which will lose $56 million. Overall, the cuts in drug abuse research funding proposed by the president total a decrease of $123.5 million.

What Does the NIDA Have Planned for 2020?

The NIDA’s priorities for 2020 include an emphasis on projects that can potentially address addiction and misuse of opioids. It aims to improve addiction treatment and prevention through evidence-based findings, to develop new and less addictive medications and to advance basic science. This multipronged effort involves several different strategies:

  • Advanced research will be done on utilizing and implementing evidence obtained through research in justice, health care and other settings.
  • Improved treatment strategies are being researched, including behavioral and pharmacological therapies, as well as development of drugs that relieve withdrawal symptoms, including a new drug, LUCEMYRA™.
  • Researching the impact of environmental factors on brain development and drug addiction, the cognitive development of the adolescent brain and also genetic factors and their interaction with drugs.
  • New scientific tools are being proposed specifically in response to the opioid crisis. The NIDA plans to improve how the justice system approaches interventions, conduct new clinical trials and focus on the hardest-hit communities in its efforts to reduce the occurrence of opioid overdoses.

It appears that the NIDA will be putting more effort into understanding the mechanisms of opioid addiction and producing effective research results. Much of its language also includes directing funding to better implementing research results into actual solutions.

Other New Developments in 2020

Several events are on the horizon in 2020 that aim to disseminate more information and provide a platform for collaboration. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is hosting the 2020 Rx Drug Abuse Heroin & Drug Summit, the largest national collaboration of professionals from local, state, and federal agencies, business, academia, treatment providers, and allied communities impacted by substance use disorder. The summit will be held April 13-16 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The American College of Medical Technology is also hosting a seminar—the 2020 Symposium: Opioid Epidemic: Controversies and Creative Solutions. This promising event will have discussions regarding more controversial topics such as urban greening, mobile buprenorphine induction and safe-injection sites. The symposium will also outline big-picture approaches on how to tackle the opioid epidemic. This one-day event will be held at the Grand Hyatt in New York City on March 12.

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