Rutgers center awarded $525K to study treatment for opioid use disorder

Crystal Group

The Center for Health Services Research at Rutgers University has been awarded funding from the Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE) for a project that aims to build knowledge and evidence on effective treatment strategies to improve access and outcomes of medications for opioid use disorder in primary care settings in New Jersey.

The need to increase treatment for opioid use disorder is particularly urgent in states like New Jersey, where overdose rates continued to grow through 2018, even as national rates began to decline.

Center Director Stephen Crystal, PhD, said the FORE funding will “enable the organization to broaden its ongoing research around the opioid crisis to identify successful provider and payer strategies and disseminate best practices for increasing access to and retention in life-saving treatment.”

“Initiation and long-term retention in evidence-based medication assisted treatment are major challenges in addressing the opioid crisis. This grant will allow us to build actionable evidence to inform policies and clinical interventions that increase access and improve outcomes among people with opioid use disorder,” Crystal said.

FORE was founded in 2018 as a private 501(c)(3) national, grant-making foundation focused on addressing the nation’s opioid crisis.

The Center, within the Rutgers Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, is one of 19 organizations across the country to receive the foundation’s inaugural grants. The project, “Integrating Medications for Opioid Use Disorder into Primary Care: Innovative Payer and Provider Strategies for Improving Treatment, Engagement, Retention, Outcomes, and Disparities,” was selected after rigorous review from submissions by more than 443 organizations across 46 states.

“In 2018, an estimated 130 Americans died every day from an opioid overdose and an estimated 2 million people are currently experiencing opioid use disorder,” said Andrea Barthwell, M.D., Chair of FORE’s Board of Directors. “These initial grants focus on improving access to lifesaving treatment. In the months ahead, we will announce additional funding opportunities that address other aspects of this multifaceted crisis.”


The Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts (FORE) was founded in 2018 as a private 501(c)(3) national, grant-making foundation focused on addressing the nation’s opioid crisis. FORE is committed to funding a diversity of projects contributing solutions to the crisis at national, state, and community levels. FORE’s mission is to convene and support partners advancing patient-centered, innovative, evidence-based solutions impacting people experiencing opioid use disorder, their families, and their communities.