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Research for a Better Future Finding the most effective, interwoven strategies to combat overdose.

Opioid Research

Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death, with opioid addiction as the main driver according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The opioid epidemic is a national priority that is garnering the need for rigorous data across the spectrum from biologics to public health perspectives. Battelle brings unique experience in poly-drug use related to opioids and other substances of abuse, surveillance data to monitor trends in consumption and user groups, and individual-level characteristics that impact the pathway between initiation and problem use. 


The Battelle Public Health Center works to help the public health community understand the types of opioids available, how consumers use those products and the risks associated with them. Our multi-disciplinary team includes leading experts in toxicology, analytical and physical chemistry, epidemiology, pharmacology, psychology, clinical research, public health, health communications and related disciplines. Our cutting-edge research is trusted by government agencies and industry leaders to deliver the objectives science needs to answer these questions.

Learn about our approach to solving complex opioid use challenges.
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Because of our unique infrastructure, Battelle is capable of bringing together scientists in the pre-clinical, clinical and population phases of research. We are able to break down disciplinary siloes and collaborate across business units to develop methodologies, conceptual tools and ultimately gain a better understanding of the best ways to approach addiction. From our state-of-the-art facilities to our ability to conduct national population studies, Battelle is reaching new heights in opioid research and answering complex questions.

  • Which types of prescription opioid medications and formulations are more likely to lead to problem use? 
  • What are the factors that motivate people to seek treatment, including different types of medications approved for opioid use disorders? 
  • What are the trends that characterize the types of people who begin with prescription opioids and the move toward heroin? 
  • What are the most effective public policies, such as safe injection sites and naloxone distribution, that can curb the epidemic of opioid overdoses? 
  • What are the physiological markers that can be used for early identification of problem usage? 
  • What are the most vulnerable sub-groups for misuse, abuse and diversion, and what are the characteristics that differentiate various profiles? 


With people becoming addicted to opioids much more rapidly after initial use when compared to previous generations, it is imperative to identify the most effective way of getting individuals treatment sooner, before it’s too late. Through partnerships with state agencies, we will be able to identify the evidence basis behind real world interventions and perform comparative analyses. Our aim is to not only target those who are at the highest risk of developing an addiction, but also to identify the most efficacious method of intervention based on an individual’s unique risk profile and protective factors. 


For more than 50 years, public health leaders have relied on Battelle for objective, science-based answers to complex questions about substance use, from measuring its impacts to understanding its triggers. With opioid usage quickly becoming an epidemic, effective research is critical now more than ever. Battelle is building on deep experience and applying lessons learned from tobacco science to better understand the use and problem use of opioids.