Publication support for innovation in opiate addiction

Opi-Assist is a programme to support the publication
of research on opiate addiction in the UK.

Applications are currently closed.

Funding application round now open.
Please complete your application by 30/11/21


Opi-Assist is a programme that aims to support healthcare professionals and allied health professionals in the UK publish their research on opiate addiction.

Eligible research includes both, studies on illicit opiates such as heroin, as well as dependence on opiate-derived prescription analgesics.

Opi-Assist is chaired by a multidisciplinary steering committee of leading experts in opiate addiction in the UK. The committee reviews each application submitted and awards publication support based on scientific merit.


Opi-Assist is funded by Camurus and run independently by a steering committee of experts. The funder has no influence on the selection of the steering committee, the criteria or scope of the programme, or the committee’s funding decisions.

The Opi-Assist Steering Committee

Professor Julia Lewis

Julia Lewis is a Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist with the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Caerleon and Visiting Professor at the University of South Wales, both in the UK. She has worked in the field of opiate addiction for over 15 years and was a member of the working group responsible for the most recent update to ‘Drug misuse and dependence: UK guidelines on clinical management.’ She is a member of the Substance Misuse National Partnership Board for Wales and has worked on a number of the substance misuse national treatment frameworks for Wales. She was a member of the working group that introduced the national take-home naloxone programme in Wales and, during the recent pandemic, she worked alongside colleagues in local drug treatment services and Welsh Government to roll out injectable buprenorphine (and is now involved in the national evaluation programme). Disclosure: Professor Julia Lewis has a consultancy agreement in place with Camurus to engage in educational activities for which she receives honoraria.

Professor Catriona Matheson

Catriona Matheson has a variety of roles including part-time Professor in Substance Use at the University of Stirling, Chair of the Drug Death Taskforce for Scotland, Co-convenor of the Drugs Research Network Scotland (DRNS), and freelance Research Consultant. Her research interests, spanning over 25 years, are in the delivery of care to people who use drugs. She completed a BSc in pharmacy at the University of Strathclyde and both an MSc in public health and PhD in Medical Sciences at the University of Aberdeen, UK. Professor Matheson was made a Fellow of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in 2019 for her work in the field of drug dependence. With over 70 publications, past research included developing delivery of care for people who use drugs and exploring health professionals’ and the general public’s opinions about drug treatment approaches. Current interests include innovative community pharmacy services and using digital solutions to prevent drug-related deaths. Disclosures: Professor Catriona Matheson has received payment/honoraria from Camurus, UK Government, Scottish Government, Drugs Research Network for Scotland and the Scottish Drugs Forum.

Professor Jan Melichar

Jan Melichar, has been an NHS Consultant Lead for Opiate Prescribing Services and the Inpatient Substance Misuse Liaison Services in Cardiff, UK. He is also a Visiting Senior Lecturer in Psychopharmacology at the University of Bath and a Visiting Professor at the University of South Wales, UK. Alongside this, he continues to provide consultancy work to industry and commissioners. He has been Medical Director of a third sector NHS provider, Consultant Lead for a Primary Care Opioid Analgesic Dependency Pilot Service, Research Director for a Clinical Research Organisation and Medical Director and Founder of a medical device start-up. He has previously been Lead Consultant in a regional NHS Psychopharmacology Unit, working with patients with difficult-to-treat anxiety and depression. In 2015, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and he was re-elected to the National Executive, Addictions Faculty, of the College in 2018. Disclosures: Professor Jan Melichar has provided consultancy work, presentations, and training, for Althea (UK), Accord (Europe), Britannia (UK), Camurus (UK, Europe and Global), Martindale (UK), Indivior (Global, UK, EMEA and Australian divisions) and US World Meds (US).

Dr Nat Wright

Nat Wright has almost 25 years’ experience as a clinical academic exploring the health needs of vulnerable groups including wider health and social care needs pertaining to substance misuse, homelessness and wider health inequalities. He is also the Primary Care Specialty Lead, for the UK National Institute for Health Research, Yorkshire and Humber region and has a wealth of experience pertaining to the appropriate use of routinely collected clinical datasets for research purposes. He also leads the UK Royal College of General Practitioners courses in substance and alcohol misuse. Over the last 20 years, almost 30,000 individuals have completed such courses and Dr Wright has contributed to course development since inception. Disclosures: Dr Nat Wright has received a research grant from Camurus and a training grant from Accord.

What is an Opi-Assist award?

If your application is successful, Opi-Assist will fund the services of a dedicated medical writer from an independent medical education provider, Connect2 CME. The medical writer will support your publication, including writing abstracts/summaries, drafting manuscripts and posters, creating figures and managing the journal submission and peer review process. All publications funded by Opi-Assist will comply with Good Publications Practice guidelines, and all authors should meet the ICMJE criteria for authorship. No other parties will have any influence on the content of funded publications. Please note that one Opi-Assist award covers the publication process for submission to a single journal. If a manuscript is rejected following submission, Opi-Assist is unable to fund medical writing support for rewrites and resubmissions to alternative journals.


The Opi-Assist programme aims to help healthcare professionals and allied health professionals, who have collected data or completed research, to publish their findings. Publication can be in a scientific or clinical journal, or at a congress in the form of a poster or oral presentation.

Who is eligible to apply?

The Opi-Assist steering committee welcomes applications on behalf of healthcare organisations, charities or other organisations involved in the treatment of opiate dependence in the UK who have data or research that they wish to publish. Prospective authors can be any healthcare professionals or allied health professionals including, but not limited to, addictions specialists, general practitioners, other specialist clinicians, pharmacists, nurses/nurse prescribers, social workers and drugs key workers. Any awards are formally made to the organisations/institutions to which the authors are affiliated and will be declared as a donation of medical writing services by the funder.

What areas of research are eligible for Opi-Assist support?

Opi-Assist will consider any topics related to the management of opiate addiction including, but not limited to:

  • Efficacy and safety of treatments
  • Treatment access
  • Models of service delivery
  • Cost/benefit or effectiveness of treatments
  • Epidemiology/public health
  • Recovery
  • Psychosocial interventions

What types of studies are eligible for Opi-Assist support?

Opi-Assist will consider a range of study types, including:

  • Clinical trials
  • Epidemiological studies
  • Qualitative research
  • Process evaluation
  • Service audit
  • Congress/poster publications
  • Pooled data analysis
  • Systematic reviews

Please note that individual case studies will not be considered.

Are there any other eligibility criteria?

The committee agreed on the following additional criteria:

  • Data collection and statistical analysis must be complete at the time of application. Opi-Assist is unable to fund additional research or data analysis
  • All research must be the work of the submitting authors
  • All data must have been collected within the last 5 years
  • The authors must agree that the funded publication will be open access


Applications are currently closed.

Information regarding Connect2 CME data privacy policy can be found at and our data protection officer can be contacted at

For any questions about the programme, please contact the secretariat at