Support Group


As part of the federal Department of Health and Human Services’ initiatives to address the opioid epidemic, the National Institutes of Health selected four research sites for the HEALing Communities Study in four states hard hit by the opioid crisis.


This ambitious study aims to reduce overdose deaths by 40 percent over three years in selected communities by testing a set of proven prevention and treatment interventions, such as the distribution of naloxone to reverse an overdose and linking individuals in the criminal justice system with treatment for opioid addiction.



In Massachusetts, Boston Medical Center’s research team brings decades of experience treating people with substance use disorder to ending the opioid overdose epidemic across the Commonwealth.


In collaboration with HEAL communities’ grassroots coalitions, the coalition is committed to bridging the gaps that prevent people with opioid use disorder from accessing quality care and treatment. 


The progress and findings from this research study will inform evidence-based solutions to reduce opioid overdose deaths.

More than $350 million will support the multi-year study under a cooperative agreement supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health.


The 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. The 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.


In Western Massachusetts, this initiative is focused on the city of Holyoke. Boston Medical Center has an $800,000 grant committed to the effort, of which the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department and the Holyoke Safe Neighborhood Initiative are contributing.