The Center on Parenting and Opioids is supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The Center is a collaborative effort between the University of Oregon and Oregon Health & Science University. Within the University of Oregon, researchers from the Prevention Science Institute (PSI), Center for Translational Neuroscience (CTN), and Oregon's Data Science Initiative, are part of the multi-disciplinary team who are working together to improve outcomes for families affected by the opioid epidemic.

The United States is experiencing an opioid epidemic of historic significance. Over 40,000 deaths from overdose were recorded in 2018, and the estimated economic cost in 2015 alone was over $500 billion.  In addition, national-level data indicate that opioid misuse and fatalities are increasing at a particularly fast rate for women and individuals in child-bearing age groups.

The US Department of Health and Human Services designated the opioid epidemic as a public health emergency in 2017. 


Our Goal
The overall goal of the Center on Parenting and Opioids (CPO) is to improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities affected by the opioid crisis.
We will achieve this goal by identifying brain pathways and behaviors common to addiction and parenting challenges.

 The anticipated long-term outcomes of the CPO are:

Reduce Maternal Opioid Misuse

Improve Evidence-based Prevention of Substance Abuse

Reduce Multi-generational Drug Addictions


Increase Public and Scientific Understanding of Opioid's Impact on the Family

Equip Future Leaders in Research and Community Practice 

Increase Evidence-Based Policy

Cores of the CPO 

Administrative Core

The Administrative Core serves vital functions of organization, training, and dissemination. This core organizes senior scientists, early career scientists (including students), community partners, and advisory board members to come together in ways that actively promote and support synergy across the CPO. It includes three research projects, a data science core, and a pilot & training core.

For example: early career scientists on each research project will contribute to the science of that research project, while simultaneously receiving training in grant writing, project management, and science communication. They will also receive methodological training from the Data Science Core, gain leadership and administrative experience from Administrative Core committee membership, and strengthen community partnerships through consultations with the advisory board members and our community partners.

Dissemination of data, discoveries, interventions, and innovations from the research projects and pilots also fall under the scope of the Administrative Core.

The investigative team builds upon a foundation of over 30 federally-funded major research grants, comprising theory-based behavioral and neurobiological basic research, as well as efficacy, effectiveness, and implementation trials on issues related to drug abuse prevention and parenting.;

Data Analysis
Data Science Core

The CPO includes a Data Science Core to leverage the complex, multidisciplinary data that will be collected in the Center. It will promote streamlined access to and analyses by internal and external users.

With overdose deaths, opioid misuse, and addiction sky-rocketing, the United States is facing a significant public health crisis. We are at a critical time in history to leverage tools in data science and sharing to help find solution and address this problem.

The CPO's data-related activities are conducted in partnership with other national initiatives recently set in motion to address this crisis. Partners include NIH’s HEAL (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, which is an aggressive, trans-agency effort to speed scientific solutions to this crisis.

In addition, we will complement the work of other national initiatives by incorporating common measures (e.g., NIH Toolbox, PhenX Toolkit, NIH’s ECHO common data elements), so data can be harmonized both within the CPO and with external data sets. This will amplify the contributions of incoming data as well as the contributions of existing national and individual data resources. By taking these steps to increase the applicability of the data, the CPO hopes to increase the nation’s ability to address critical questions related to parenting among individuals who are opioid users.;

Data Science Support

Pilot & Training Core

A well-developed set of procedures for supporting pilot studies and other training is an essential part of the proposed research approach. These procedures can both stimulate novel research ideas and can build upon findings from existing projects, expanding the breadth and depth of the existing knowledge base.

Such projects often serve as starting points to research by generating feasibility and preliminary data for larger scale studies. They also can be used to further the aims of larger scale studies by expanding or applying findings to broader targets, populations, or behaviors. This provides the potential for new research projects.

Moreover, in implementation research, pilot studies are often essential to the uptake of a prevention or intervention program, allowing partners and consumers to gain familiarity with the program within a particular context. For early career scientists affiliated with the Center and those outside, pilot projects will be an essential means of collecting preliminary data to launch an independent research career.