When a patient is brought into the ER for a drug overdose, the overdose is treated immediately to bring the person back to better health. The underlying addiction to the drug is another concern entirely, and is usually not addressed as part of the treatment for the overdose. Opioid addiction is a chronic condition, and doctors at Yale University wanted to better understand whether addressing the underlying addiction would better improve chances of the person finding long term addiction treatment.
Dr. Gail D’Onofrio and her colleagues chose to test whether prescribing withdrawal symptom medication, providing counseling, and giving focused referrals would improve the likelihood of patients seeking treatment. The results of their study were published in JAMA, highlighting that over 75% of those given medication, counseling intervention, and referral for treatment were in a treatment program within 30 days.
Click here to read the full article by Scott Hensley for NPR.