Efforts go beyond treatment to recovery and ERs are increasingly offering patients who seek help for overdoses additional resources for drug addiction and recovery therapies.
The opioid epidemic presents in hospital emergency rooms in different ways. Addicts show up asking for prescription opioids for pain. Or patients who are overdosing on heroin and other opioids arrive for treatment.
Prescription monitoring programs and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and others aim to limit unnecessary prescribing of opioid drugs.
Now emergency rooms are developing programs to get patients help not only if they've overdosed, but also if they want addiction treatment. Boston Medical Center (BMC) last month announced the launch of its "Faster Paths to Treatment Opioid Urgent Care Center.
The effort, supported by a $2.9 million grant from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, "rapidly links patients to an enhanced and integrated system of addiction healthcare delivery through inpatient and outpatient treatment services, detoxification, and follow-up care," according to an announcement from BMC.
The program will involve intake triage, referrals to addiction treatment and primary care, overdose education, "naloxone rescue kits," as well as transportation and community support services.