Emergency Departments and Opioid Use Disorder


All aspects of the healthcare system touch those affected by the opioid crisis. In emergency departments (EDs) around the country, doctors often work to save the lives of those who have experienced an overdose but do little to help patients access substance use treatment. Yet, EDs present a unique opportunity to reach individuals with opioid use disorder. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association discusses the benefits of initiating medication-assisted treatment in the ED, specifically buprenorphine, as well as barriers that remain.

The Addiction Policy Forum has also created an Emergency Medicine Initiative to improve screening, assessment, early intervention, and treatment of opioid use disorder within EDs. As part of this initiative, they connect ED providers to resources and tools to help implement best practices to address addiction in emergency medicine, such as the hospital toolkit.