Halting opioid abuse aim of several grants from NIH, CDC

Dozens of grants awarded nationwide in search of answers to addiction, deaths Read More

From the WashU School of Medicine News

Tapped for their work aimed at stemming opioid abuse and halting what has become an epidemic in the United States, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have received federal grants totaling more than $10 million from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The grants are part of a nationwide push to fund research targeting the epidemic.

At the School of Medicine, much of the grant funding is directed toward improving treatments for chronic pain; curbing rates of opioid-use disorder and overdoses; gaining a better understanding of why, and among whom, overdoses and deaths are occurring; helping patients achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction; and other efforts.

Among those receiving grants is Robert W. Gereau IV, PhD, the Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology at Washington University, who is collaborating with John A. Rogers, PhD, a professor of biomedical and neurological engineering at Northwestern. They have a two-year, $4.2 million grant from NIH — as part of its HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-Term) Initiative — to develop an implantable device that would automatically deliver life-saving doses of the drug naloxone (Narcan) to people experiencing acute opioid overdoses. The device they are developing would deliver naloxone to a person experiencing respiratory distress, the primary cause of overdose deaths.

They envision the devices being implanted under the skin in people who have been treated for opioid-use disorder or who have been incarcerated after abusing opioids, resulting in long periods of abstinence from opioids.

“People in treatment for opioid addiction and those who have been incarcerated have a high risk of relapse,” said Gereau, who directs the Washington University Pain Center. “While Narcan can prevent deaths, it is not always readily available, and even if it is available, there is not always another person around to administer the medicine. This device could fill that void, helping to ensure that if a person relapses and gets into trouble, there would be a fail-safe way to deliver the drug that could save them.”

Visit the News Hub for the complete story.

Posted on December 3, 2019
Posted in: Axon Injury & Repair Authors: