Public Release: 

The role of science in combatting the opioid crisis

NIH/Office of the Director


Opioid misuse and addiction is an ongoing and rapidly evolving public health crisis, requiring innovative scientific solutions. In a special report* published in the New England Journal of Medicine, National Institutes of Health Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., and National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora D. Volkow, M.D., describe NIH's plans to launch an initiative with private partners to:

  • develop better overdose reversal and prevention interventions to reduce mortality
  • find new, innovative medications and technologies to treat opioid addiction
  • find safe, effective, non-addictive strategies to manage chronic pain


* Volkow, N.D., Collins, F.C. The Role of Science in the Opioid Crisis. N Engl J Med. Online 2017 May 31.


Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director, NIH
Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH


To schedule an interview with Dr. Collins, please email your request to or call 301-496-5787. To schedule an interview with Dr. Volkow, please email or call 301-443-6245.

About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): NIDA is a component of the NIH, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world's research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. Fact sheets on the health effects of drugs and information on NIDA research and other activities can be found on the NIDA home page at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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