May 27, 2020

Starting treatment in the ER could increase success

Intervening in a person's addiction when he comes to the emergency room for medical treatment can increase the chances that that patient successful enters treatment, a new study has found.

Instead of just medically stabilizing patients in the emergency room, doctors could begin to set them on the road to recovery by easing withdrawals and encouraging counseling, researchers at Yale hypothesized.

The results were promising.

More than three-quarters of the people in a group that received medicine to ease withdrawals, a 10-minute counseling session and referral to treatment were in treatment 30 days later.

Only 37 percent of people who received only a referral were in treatment after 30 days. People who received the brief counseling intervention and a referral were in between — 45 percent were in treatment at the 30-day mark.

“You can normalize this chronic disease like any other chronic disease,” says Dr. Gail D'Onofrio, chief of emergency medicine at Yale's med school. “I'm still talking to them about their motivation to start treatment, but I'm also giving them something to help them with their withdrawal.”

Read more about the study and about the future of treating addiction in the emergency room from NPR.


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