News & Updates Program Brief

New FORE Brief Highlights Strategies for Expanding Access to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in Emergency Departments

August 18, 2022

Emergency departments are often considered the “front door” of treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) because their staff are among the first clinicians people recovering from an overdose see. They may also be the only providers people with infections and wounds related to the use of injectable drugs encounter, given that many don’t regularly access primary care.

A new issue brief describes how three FORE grantees are working collaboratively to educate clinicians about the benefits of initiating medications for OUD in the emergency department and guiding patients to community providers who can provide ongoing care.

The National Emergency Medicine Consortium — made up of representatives of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)/Emergency Medicine Foundation, the Get Waivered campaign at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Public Health Institute’s California Bridge program — is also providing technical assistance to clinicians and hospitals that are adapting their policies, procedures, and staffing to make OUD treatment more widely available.

“We know that when a person who has overdosed is admitted to the emergency department, it is a critical opportunity to offer and engage them in evidence-based treatment,” says Karen Scott, M.D., M.P.H., FORE’s president. “Our grantees are showing concrete, collaborative ways to help clinicians and hospitals build a continuum of care for OUD treatment, reduce the stigma around addiction, and build a community of practice in which it is normal, and expected, to help OUD patients.”