The Expanding Findings for Federal Opioid Research and Treatment (EFFORT) Act requires the National Science Foundation (NSF) to issue grants for research proposals investigating opioid addiction.
The bipartisan bill recognizes NSF’s commitment to investigating the neurobiology of addiction and alternatives to opioids in pain treatment, yet acknowledges the need for additional research on medical interventions in addiction treatment.
Bill sponsor Representative Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) said in a statement on the House floor that future research on opioid addiction must expand knowledge on its neurobiology, while also focusing on barriers to access for existing treatment and support services, cultural stigmatization, and the socioeconomic impact of drug dependence.
The bill accordingly requires NSF to collaborate with the National Institute of Health (NIH) to fund research on opioid addiction through merit-based grants. Its demand aligns with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and NIH’s priority focus areas, and could be integrated into NSF’s existing budget for addiction research, based on Congressional Budget Office estimates.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 192 people die of drug overdoses each day in the US - with over 70,000 preventable overdose deaths recorded in 2017 alone. Following HHS’s designation of opioid addiction as a public health crisis, the NIH has already allocated $850 million to this area of research in 2019.