Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, and Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, introduced July 31 the Expanding Findings for Federal Opioid Research and Treatment — EFFORT — Act to support research on opioid addiction.

The legislation would direct the National Science Foundation, in consultation with the National Institutes of Health, to support merit-reviewed and competitively awarded research on the science of opioid addiction, allowing for further understanding of how to more effectively treat the multiple aspects of opioid addiction.

A companion bill was introduced in the House by Reps. Jennifer Wexton, D-Virginia, and Jim Baird, R-Indiana.

“Opioid-related deaths have reached epidemic levels in Delaware and across the country. It is a crisis that demands we pull every lever at our disposal,” said Coons. “That’s why I have been proud to combat the importation of fentanyl, work to ensure better reporting of opioid shipments domestically, and support last year’s bipartisan bill to strengthen the federal response. It is also why I am excited today to introduce this bill that will ensure ongoing investments in critical research and deepen our understanding of the many facets of opioid addiction.”

Previous research by the NSF on opioid addiction has increased understanding of the neuroscience of addiction, substance abuse intervention, the secondary effects on families, and more. Last year, Coons supported the bipartisan SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act that will provide critical tools to help combat the opioid epidemic. Coons and Gardner also introduced the DEA Clearinghouse Act, which guards against prescription drug diversion.