Interventions in the ER Help Get Opioid Users into Treatment, Study Finds

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People in the ER because of an opioid overdose are more likely to enter an addiction treatment program when doctors provide medication and counseling along with a referral, a new study has found.

Researchers led by Dr. Gail D’Onofrio at Yale Univesity’s Medical School tested three distinct interventions among 329 ER patients who had suffered opioid overdoses. The first intervention involved administering a certain withdrawal medication, 10 minutes of counseling, and referral to a rehabilitation center. The second received only a referral, and the third received a referral and counseling.

37 percent of the participants who received only a referral entered a treatment program after 30 days. That number rose to 45 percent for patient who had received both a referral and counseling.

When the researchers administered withdrawal medication alongside counseling and a referral, they saw the percentage of patients seeking help skyrocket; a whopping 75 percent of patients in this group were in rehabilitation treatment after 30 days.

Despite the encouraging findings, experts still emphasize that counseling and individual strategies were key to successful treatments for opioid dependence.

“This is not something that can be quickly dealt with,” said Dr. Charmiam Sittambalam of Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. “The problem was that they couldn’t find the help they needed.”

Are you or someone you care for dependent on opioids? Do you want to quit? See if you qualify for Segal Institute’s clinical research study on opioid dependence today!


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