Develop medications to treat substance use disorder

social determinants of health
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Coverage & Standards
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Federal department
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house committees
House Appropriations Committee
House Energy and Commerce Committee
senate committees
Senate Appropriations Committee
Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee


Congress should provide additional resources to the National Institutes of Health to increase research in concert with the pharmaceutical industry to develop and test innovative medications for substance use disorders (SUDs), including long-acting injectables, more potent opioid antagonists to reverse overdose, drugs used for detoxification, and vaccines, and treatments for stimulant use disorder.[1]


More scientific research is needed to reduce the devastating impact of SUDs.[1] Research efforts launched by the federal government are already underway, but greater investments are needed. For example, the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) Helping to End Addiction Long-term (HEAL) Initiative is an effort that spans multiple institutes and centers at the NIH. HEAL’s research priorities include a focus on developing preventive measures for opioid use disorder (OUD), new treatment options for people with SUDs and OUD as well as examining new options to manage pain without opioids.[2] A critical component of this initiative includes public-private partnerships with pharmaceutical companies to develop and test new therapies.[1] While these efforts are critical, there is still a tremendous need to develop new treatment strategies, including the potential to use vaccines to prevent SUDs.[1] Congress should continue to invest in programs like the HEAL Initiative, as well as the research being conducted at individual NIH institutes and centers to identify and develop new tools to prevent and address SUDs.


1. Presidential Commission. The President’s Commission On Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. Last Updated October 2017.

2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. The National Institute of Mental Health Strategic Plan. Last Updated May 2023.