Emergency Department Overdose Prevention

Smart Snippet: Video
Datasource: Medication Assisted Treatment

Our Emergency Department (ED) Overdose Prevention program was developed to provide immediate access to treatment to people with opioid use disorders. A multidisciplinary team, including an ED physician, a trained behavioral health nurse, a clinical pharmacy specialist, a peer specialist and a licensed clinical social worker, provide screening and brief intervention and referral to treatment to people treated for opioid-related overdoses and other opioid-related conditions while being treated in the ED.

The team also assesses patients for initiation of Medication Assisted Treatment. Medication Assisted Treatment has been shown to have a powerful effect on reducing long-term mortality among patients with an opioid use disorder. This effect is not dependent on discontinuing illicit opioid use or drug injection. The key intervention is beginning and continuing Medication Assisted Treatment with buprenorphine in combination with behavioral and supportive interventions to increase treatment retention.

How does the program work?

Emergency Department Overdose Prevention works by identifying and beginning treatment of substance use disorders in the ED, thereby intervening with patients at high risk for possible opioid overdose death. Our ED functions as a patient-centered, open-access setting for people struggling with substance use disorders who have difficulty keeping clinic appointments and are seeking treatment.

Since substance use disorders are often accompanied by other medical and/or social issues, the combination of highly skilled clinical providers with peer specialists who have lived with addiction, is ideal to motivate people with substance use disorders to enter into treatment, have a warm handoff to connect them to ongoing treatment and get assistance with social needs such as shelter and housing.