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NIH Directors Address Chronic Pain and Opioid Crisis at Annual Society for Neuroscience Meeting

Science Update

What: On Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, at a press conference at the Society for Neuroscience’s annual Meeting, National Institutes of Health (NIH) directors will discuss how NIH is marshalling resources, primarily through the HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative , to come up with short- and long-term solutions for countering the pain and opioid crisis.

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated that 50 million adults in the U.S. suffered chronic pain . Meanwhile, the CDC has also estimated that every day an average of 115 people die after overdosing on opioids. Last year, NIH director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., and Nora Volkow, M.D., director of NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse, called for an “all scientific hands on deck” response . In April, NIH nearly doubled its fiscal year 2016 funding for pain and opioid misuse and addiction research to $1.1 billion for fiscal year 2018 by launching the HEAL Initiative , an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis. More specifically, the HEAL Initiative will fund institutions that are either searching for new ways to prevent misuse and treat addiction and overdose or developing novel, non-addictive alternatives, such as biologics and devices for managing pain .

Who: The following NIH leaders will be available for interviews:

If you are planning to attend or have any questions, please contact the NINDS Press Team at; 301-496-5751

When: 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. PST, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018; San Diego Convention Center, CA, Room 15A.

The press conference will be livestreamed to media who have registered through the Society for Neuroscience:

For more information:


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 the NIH website .

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