420 with CNW — Federal Agency Announces Funding for Research into Drug-Harm-Reduction Approaches

January 7, 2022 04:25:00

The National Institutes of Health is promoting research into the effectiveness of various harm-reduction strategies, which include safe consumption facilities and drug decriminalization, as part of its effort to fight the opioid epidemic. The federal health agency released requests for applications last week for an effort that will generate funding for studies on how safe consumption sites and other harm-reduction strategies can be used to address the overdose crises.

The agency seeks to launch a Harm Reduction Network that will grow the understanding of the implementation, impact and effectiveness of new and existing harm-reduction strategies in order to address substance use disorder and the opioid epidemic more broadly.

A counterpart request for application requests the establishment of a coordination center in the network, which will offer coordination and logistical support, clinical practice and research resources, data sharing and data harmonization supports.

The agency is accepting applications for projects that entail the expansion of the delivery models and settings through which harm-reduction policies are established; the development and testing of new harm-reduction practices; the assessment of the impact of new harm-reduction strategies that have been implemented at the local and state levels; and implementation of new and existing harm-reduction policies effectively.

In its notice, the agency states that harm-reduction strategies are aimed at minimizing or preventing adverse outcomes associated with substance use, including the transmission of infectious diseases as well as nonfatal and fatal overdoses. The ageny highlights examples of existing harm-reduction services, which include HIV and Hepatitis C virus testing, sterile syringes, safer smoking equipment, fentanyl test strips and naloxone.

This is in addition to noting that the Office of National Drug Control Policy is focused on the prioritization of harm-reduction policy, as a way to prevent overdoses.

Component agencies of the NIH, including the National Institute on Drug Abuse, state that emerging harm-reduction strategies include the authorization of safe consumption facilities, prosecutor and police-driven diversion and deflection efforts, and the decriminalization of certain drugs.

Nora Volkow, director of NIDA, has repeatedly voiced concerns about the harms caused by drug criminalization. Last year, Volkow revealed that she was open to exploring how support systems could help individuals obtain treatment, hinder them from getting infected with HIV, and prevent overdoses and death.

In November 2021, the city of New York established the first safe consumption facility in the country. Advocates wonder how the government will react to this, as it recently blocked Safehouse, a not-for-profit in Philadelphia, from establishing a harm-reduction facility.

There is hope that such federally backed studies could tilt the tide in favor of ending prohibition so that more people can enjoy the benefits of various innovative products such as the RYAH Smart Inhaler from RYAH Group Inc. (CSE: RYAH) intended to bring precision to the measurement of plant medicine doses.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to RYAH Group Inc. (CSE: RYAH) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/RYAH

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