This webinar will focus on the crucial role of the emergency department (ED) in recognizing and treating opioid use disorder (OUD) patients with evidence-based medications for addiction treatment. Gail D’Onofrio, MD, will discuss her pioneering work in creating the evidence for initiating ED buprenorphine treatment with ED patients presenting with opioid use disorder. Overall, the opioid epidemic intertwined with the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly escalated the need to mitigate the morbidity and mortality associated with the rising rate of fentanyl use. Data supporting the use of buprenorphine in the ED setting as well as the consequences of not initiating treatment will be discussed. While the use of ED prescribed buprenorphine has increased, universal adoption has lagged. Barriers to implementation of ED buprenorphine will be discussed as well as strategies to overcome these challenges. Components of successful integration of an ED program with community partnerships will be outlined. Current research by emergency physicians regarding innovative strategies such as high-dose buprenorphine inductions and use of extended release 7-day formulation of buprenorphine will be discussed. Initiation of buprenorphine effectively reduces withdrawal symptoms, improves adherence to treatment, and saves lives.

Funding for this initiative was made possible (in part) by grant no. 1H79TI081968 from SAMHSA. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S.