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RTI awarded NIDA grant to develop quality measures for opioid use disorder treatment

The team will develop quality measures for opioid treatment programs and test approaches to using them to improve engagement in treatment and outcomes

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — RTI International, a nonprofit research institute, has received a five-year, $7.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA) to develop quality measures for opioid treatment programs and to test approaches to implementing the measures to improve opioid use disorder treatment engagement and outcomes. The work is part of the NIH HEAL Initiative, which aims to speed scientific solutions to the U.S. drug overdose crisis that took 107,000 lives in 2022.

“Despite highly effective medications that can cut the risk of opioid overdose deaths in half, most people do not stay in treatment long enough to benefit from these medications,” said Dr. Tami L. Mark, the study’s principal investigator. “The goal of this research is to develop and test quality measures and quality improvement approaches that will support a learning health care system that can be used by providers, patients, health plans, payers, and policymakers to collaboratively improve opioid use disorder treatment.”

RTI’s team of researchers, which includes national experts in addiction treatment and patient-centered research from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), will collaborate with BayMark Health Services, the one of the largest providers of opioid use disorder treatment in the U.S. BayMark has more than 121 opioid treatment programs located in 36 states and Washington D.C.

Approximately 1,920 opioid treatment programs in the U.S. treat more than 650,000 patients annually. Opioid treatment programs are the only setting in the U.S. in which methadone, a schedule II opioid receptor agonist, can be legally dispensed for opioid use disorders.

Learn more about RTI’s involvement in the HEAL Initiative

Learn more about RTI’s substance use research