Identification, Management, and Transition of Care for Patients With Opioid Use Disorder in the Emergency Department

Herbert C. Duber, MD, MPHIsabel A. Barata, MD, MBAEric Cioè-Peña, MD, MPHStephen Y. Liang, MD, MPHSEric Ketcham, MD, MBAWendy Macias-Konstantopoulos, MD, MPHShawn A. Ryan, MD, MBAMark Stavros, MDLauren K. Whiteside, MD, MS

Because of a soaring number of opioid-related deaths during the past decade, opioid use disorder has become a prominent issue in both the scientific literature and lay press. Although most of the focus within the emergency medicine community has been on opioid prescribing—specifically, on reducing the incidence of opioid prescribing and examining alternative pain treatment—interest is heightening in identifying and managing patients with opioid use disorder in an effective and evidence-based manner. In this clinical review article, we examine current strategies for identifying patients with opioid use disorder, the treatment of patients with acute opioid withdrawal syndrome, approaches to medication-assisted therapy, and the transition of patients with opioid use disorder from the emergency department to outpatient services.

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