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Addiction treatment approaches - 3: Hospitals’ emergency rooms act as saviors to drug addiction cases

Addiction treatment approaches – 3: Hospitals’ emergency rooms act as saviors to drug addiction cases

“With approximately 50 percent of the USA population on prescription drugs and 10 percent on antidepressants, it is clear that things are going seriously wrong with human health in the modern world.” – Steven Magee, Health Forensics

Patients diagnosed with opioid use disorder generally receive a brochure that illustrates treatment options or a referral for treatment on a stipulated date. When these patients fall prey to drug overdose and are rushed to the hospital’s emergency room (ER), doctors often address the symptoms of drug abuse and save the patient’s life.

The findings of numerous studies suggest that starting treatment for opioid addiction in the emergency department will establish a new paradigm in the domain of substance abuse by reducing the number of overdoses and the abuse of opioids. However, often the underlying cause of overdose lingers on and the patients’ likelihood to re-engage in drug abuse remains high. In the light of the above revelation, patients are likely to continue with addiction treatment when medications are introduced during the visit to the ER.

The current article cites the importance of starting treatment for drug abuse or addiction in the ER. As in the case of other chronic conditions, such as elevated blood pressure or diabetes, some experts advocate the same kind of approach toward the patients of substance abuse, such as providing appropriate treatment instantaneously.

The first step toward normalizing substance use disorder (SUD) is to ensure effective interventions at the level of ER. The kind of interventions offered to the patients will determine their future, such as addiction and recovery.

Make a difference by administering buprenorphine during ER treatment

Some doctors at the Yale University believe that commencing treatment for substance abuse in the ER can safeguard and stabilize individuals who are dependent on drugs. A study, conducted by the researchers of the Yale University and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), highlighted the effectiveness of starting the treatment for opioid-dependent patients in the ER.

The study found that patients who were prescribed medications to abate withdrawal symptoms along with counseling intervention and received referral for assistance were more likely to be successful in their treatment.

Among 329 participants who were screened for opioids were divided into three groups. It was found that three-fourth of the participants who were treated 30 days following the study had received medications, such as buprenorphine and naloxone, counseling sessions that ran up to 10 minutes and focused referral for treatment.

Some of the findings are as follows:

  • 37 percent of the patients who only received a referral were found to be in treatment after 30 days.
  • 45 percent of the patients who received brief counseling and a referral were in treatment by the end of 30 days.

The researchers found that the administration of medication, such as buprenorphine, to overdose victims and for the treatment of addiction could motivate patients to initiate treatment on their own. Perhaps, it is easier to convince these patients to engage in treatment while their withdrawal symptoms are being addressed during the duration of their stay in the hospital.

The researchers of the study suggest that this approach should be the new standard for effectively treating opioid addiction. However, buprenorphine is authorized to be used only for facility-based treatment for individuals with the problem of addiction.

Drug free is the way to be

In order to administer buprenorphine, doctors have to undergo specialized training, register as a certified personnel with the government and can only treat a small number of patients. If this approach could be made cost-effective and taken up by many hospitals throughout the nation, it would be able to address the chronic problem of SUD that has vexed the U.S. for so long.

If you or your loved one is engaged in drug abuse, it is important to seek professional help. The Texas Drug Addiction Treatment assists in accessing the best treatment that specializes in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-5757 or chat online with our medical advisers to know more about drug addiction treatment centers in Texas.

Read the other articles of the series “Addiction treatment approaches:”

  1. Challenges confronting voluntary treatment compared to coercive treatment
  2. Advantages of family inclusion while treating addiction

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