In the midst of an intensifying opioid epidemic, public health experts at the Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing are increasingly devoting their research to finding new ways to track and address the crisis, a recent NYU press release reports.

The university’s latest announcement provides updates on seven projects the center launched in the fall to help rural communities develop a response to growing rates of prescription painkiller and heroin addiction.

Researchers are currently being led by Sherry Deren, PhD, and Holly Hagan, PhD, MPH, RN, who have long been leaders in research to end the HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) epidemics among people who use drugs. The report notes that in recent years, the center’s research has increasingly focused on opioid abuse, both in urban and rural settings.

Current projects at the center include preliminary testing of a text messaging intervention to improve buprenorphine treatment among people fighting opioid addiction, a study investigating factors around why young people are increasingly switching from prescription painkillers to injection drugs and research on the efficacy of naltrexone for opioid relapse prevention among people leaving New York City jails.

The center is also investigating new prevention strategies to reduce the number of people who switch over to injection drugs throughout opioid addiction as well as a study on opioid misuse and overdose risk patterns among recent veterans. Projects around preventing HCV among young opioid injectors and gauging opioid users’ knowledge of fentanyl (a powerful and often deadly injectable painkiller) are also subjects of the researchers’ ongoing work.

The end goal of NYU’s research is to synthesize a wide array of knowledge around the opioid, HIV and hepatitis C crises in the United States and provide evidence-based recommendations for policymakers and health care providers across the country.

To learn more about the center’s research, click here.