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What is the HEALing Communities Study?

In 2019, the University of Kentucky (UK) received funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to implement the HEALing Communities Study (HCS) in 16 counties across Kentucky. Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio were also awarded.

At a high-level, the goal was to study what combination of proven approaches leads to the fastest and most effective reduction in opioid overdose deaths in partnership with federal, state, community, public health, criminal legal system, behavioral health, and healthcare partners. The study leveraged existing resources and initiatives, in partnership with communities, to implement strategies and set evidence-based standards that will become a national model for fighting the opioid epidemic.

Which counties participated? As one of four sites nationwide, UK and the Commonwealth of Kentucky addressed the opioid epidemic in a randomized study that included 16 Kentucky counties acutely impacted by opioid use disorder (OUD).


Map of Healing Communities in Kentucky

What's next?

The idea and hope is to take what works well in these communities and use it in other places across the state and country. It is based on the strong belief that when communities and a state work together, leveraging the resources of a top research university, they can transform lives and communities everywhere.

Click here to download the HCS infographic summarizing implementation efforts.

Resources developed throughout the study, including information on community resources, manuals and toolkits, and educational videos, are available across this website. Some of these resources are highlighted below, but please browse around to view additional content.

Browse other HCS-KY webpages

OUD and treatment educational resources

Read more OUD and medications for OUD, including the types of medications and how they work.

Dispose of unused medications

Help keep your family and community safe by getting rid of unused or expired prescription opioid pills, patches, or syrups. Locate a safe medication disposal receptacle near you.

Explore our "I want to..." resources

Resources on this page are organized by topic to assist healthcare providers, agencies, community organizations, and others in finding information relevant to their work.

View HCS publications

While research is ongoing, several articles have been published in journals to date.

Learn more about carrying naloxone

Everyone should carry naloxone. Learn more today.

Browse our resource library

Materials including manuals, toolkits, guides, and many more are available to our community.