On May 16, the Addiction Policy Forum (APF) launched a hospital toolkit to empower patients, families, emergency medicine physicians, and policymakers to work collaboratively to identify patients in need of help, initiate evidence-based treatments, and connect patients and families to comprehensive support services.
The opioid epidemic has resulted in escalating the utilization of our health systems’ inpatient and emergency medicine services. A hospital or emergency department may be the only place a patient with substance use disorder receives health care, making this a critical intervention point for engaging people with substance use disorder and linking them to treatment.
Between 2005 and 2014, the national rate of opioid-related emergency visits increased 99.4%, and there were more than 63,600 drug overdose deaths in 2016.
“We know those who have had a nonfatal overdose are at an increased risk for a fatal overdose and need treatment for substance use disorder,” says Jessica Hulsey Nickel, president and CEO of the APF. “With the necessary protocols, assessment tools, and referral paths, a nonfatal overdose can become an intervening opportunity for connection with treatment and recovery.”
Featuring clinical information about screening, emergency department-initiated treatment, guidance regarding post-overdose family notification, and the premiere of APF’s video series, “Best Practices for Emergency Departments to Address Addiction,” this comprehensive resource arms patients, families, emergency medicine providers and policymakers with the necessary tools to respond with the thoughtful urgency that this epidemic requires.