depressed man

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According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction refers to Substance Use Disorder (SUD) at the severe end of the spectrum. Substance use disorders, including opioid and alcohol use disorders (OUD and AUD, respectively), are now recognized as chronic brain diseases, with the potential for both recovery and relapse.

The impact of substance use disorders on daily life

Substance use disorders negatively impact physical and mental health, productivity at work, and lead to a reduced quality of life such as an increase in problems at home and school. High-risk behaviors, that are associated with substance use disorders, have been linked to increased crime, violence, healthcare costs, and the spread of infectious diseases (such as HIV and hepatitis C).

The economic toll of substance use disorders is staggering: the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates the ‘all in’ costs at more than $740 billion annually. Yet the societal impact of substance use disorders is even more disturbing: an estimated 88,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes each year, making it the third leading preventable cause of death. Incredibly, life expectancy in the United States has declined over the past two years, due in large part to a year-over-year increase in lives cut short by opioid overdose, estimated at approximately 70,000 Americans in 2022. 

National Institute on Drug Abuse logo

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) describes addiction as the most severe form of a Substance Use Disorder (SUD).

Substance use disorder is a chronic brain disease

Like other chronic brain diseases (e.g., epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease), substance use disorders are treatable and can be successfully managed. Research has shown that for most patients, the combination of medication and behavioral therapy ensures the best chance of success.

Yet unlike other chronic brain diseases, only a fraction of individuals with a substance use disorder receive any form of treatment. For example, fewer than 1 in 5 individuals with an Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) receive treatment, and among the 17 million adults with an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), less than 7% receive treatment. While it is clear that the vast majority of individuals with a substance use disorder do not receive treatment, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that treatment is cost-effective: for every $1 spent on treatments, up to $12 is saved in criminal and healthcare costs.

Treatment for addiction and drug overdose

Opiant is focused on developing medicines to treat substance use disorders and drug overdose.

Our pipeline includes possible treatments for:

  • Reversing Opioid Overdose
  • Treating Alcohol Use Disorder
  • Treating Opioid Use Disorder
  • Reversing Acute Cannabinoid Overdose


images of various addiction treatment medications