Report: NIH Spent Over $300 Million on Failed Study to Reduce Opioid Deaths

A new report reveals that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) spent over $300 million of taxpayers’ money on a wasted study into opioid deaths, which ultimately failed to yield any solutions.

According to the Daily Caller, the claims from the New England Journal of Medicine say that the NIH spent at least $344 million on the Helping End Addiction Long-term (HEALing) Communities Study, which lasted for 12 months. The study ostensibly intended to implement strategies for combating opioid overdoses and deaths, including overdose education programs and local naloxone distribution. The study focused on 34 communities across the country, with 33 communities serving as control groups.

“In this 12-month multimodal intervention trial involving community coalitions in the deployment of evidence-based practices to reduce opioid overdose deaths, death rates were similar in the intervention group and the control group in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and the fentanyl-related overdose epidemic,” the researchers determined.

The $344 million spent on the study came primarily from congressional funds that had first been appropriated in 2017. The participating communities were given their intervention strategies over the course of two and a half years, from January of 2020 to June of 2022. The NIH then made comparisons between opioid deaths in the control communities and the communities that were given intervention, starting in July of 2021.

But in the end, the massive effort did not change the rates of opioid deaths in any of the communities involved.

Redonna Chandler, the program director for the HEALing study, blamed the Chinese Coronavirus pandemic for the study’s failed results. She claimed that the study “doesn’t negate, in any way, the evidence that suggests the strengths of those interventions.”

“While our communities continued working in the background, we weren’t able to get into hospitals,” she continued. “We weren’t able to get into jails. We weren’t able to get into a lot of the places and spaces where we wanted to implement our evidence-based practices.”

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

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