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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

North Texas: Dr. Scott Walters to Lead National Opioid Crisis Steering Committee

Dr. Scott Walters, Regents Professor and chair of health behavior and health systems at the University of North Texas Health Science Center School of Public Health, has been named steering committee chair for the HEALing Communities Study, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Helping to End Addiction Long-Term (HEAL) Initiative, an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to stem the national opioid public health crisis.

More than $350 million will support this multi-year study under a cooperative agreement supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The study’s goal is to reduce opioid deaths by at least 40 percent over a three-year period in nearly 70 communities hard hit by the opioid crisis across Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York and Ohio.

Four independent research sites – at Boston Medical Center, Columbia University, Ohio State University and the University of Kentucky – will build on extensive, well-established NIH research to implement, test and evaluate a set of proven prevention and treatment strategies for opioid overdose, recovery and support.

“This project will create a national model for curbing the opioid crisis,” Dr. Walters said. “Nearly 50,000 people died from opioid overdose in 2017, and millions of other Americans are struggling with drug dependence. Overdose rates in some communities have become so great that it’s really a moral imperative for us to find solutions.”

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