The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) will fund a study to evaluate the impact of overdose prevention centers, the Associated Press reports.
The study will be conducted by NYU Langone Health and Brown University’s School of Public Health, with a $5 million grant over four years from NIDA. This is the first time the federal government has funded a study of overdose prevention centers (OPCs).
The researchers will study two sites in New York City and one that will open in Providence, Rhode Island next year. They hope to enroll 1,000 adults who use heroin and other illegal substances who have visited an OPC or used other drug-related services. The researchers will track their health outcomes, such as hospital visits, overdoses and enrollment in substance use disorder treatment. They will conduct check-ins monthly and surveys every six months, and evaluate medical records.
The researchers will assess the costs to operate the centers, their impact on the surrounding neighborhood and their potential savings to the health care and criminal justice systems.
“This groundbreaking study will help us determine whether and how OPCs are an effective public health tool as part of a more compassionate, evidence-based response to this crisis in the U.S.,” Brandon DL Marshall, Ph.D., of the Brown University School of Public Health said in a news release.