Boston Medical Center to Lead Large Opioid-Fighting Program

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has selected Boston Medical Center (BMC) as one of four national sites that will receive a combined $350 million to combat the opioid crisis.
BMC will use its $89 million share of the funding to partner with 16 communities in Massachusetts to test the effect of Office-Based Addiction Treatment (OBAT) and other measures with the goal of reducing opioid deaths by 40% within three years. BMC said 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 hospital-community partnership will “measure the impact of integrating evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery interventions across primary care, behavioral health, justice and other settings,” according to an NIH media release. 
Boston Medical Center; University of Kentucky, Lexington; Columbia University, New York City; and Ohio State University, Columbus were chosen because they are in states “hard hit by the opioid crisis,” according to NIH. NIH Director Francis Collins said there were applications from more than a dozen states for the funding. Kentucky and Ohio ranked among the top five states for overdose deaths in 2017 while Massachusetts ranks among the top 10, according to the CDC.
The Massachusetts effort will be led by Jeffrey Samet, M.D., chief of General Internal Medicine at BMC and a professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine. 
“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,” Samet said. “It means pulling out all the stops.”
The $350 million comes through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the NIH, and is being carried out in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). RTI International, based in North Carolina, will serve as the study’s coordinating center, responsible for data analysis and health economics research.
According to the NIH, the study will “track communities as they reduce the incidence of opioid use disorder, increase the number of individuals receiving medication-based treatment for opioid use disorder, increase treatment retention beyond six months, provide recovery support services and expand the distribution of naloxone.”