Recent research suggests that emergency department care can be beneficial and improve the outcome for individuals with opioid dependence. Researchers studied different approaches to treatment for opioid dependence in emergency departments. The study results showed that a combination of the drug buprenorphine and arrangements for ongoing care were far more effective than just providing referrals to the patient after a brief intervention. According to the research study patients who received a brief opioid use intervention, buprenorphine in the emergency room, and a maintenance dose of the drug for up to 12 weeks were more likely to get follow up treatment and reduce the amount and frequency of opioid use. This treatment approach also showed savings because patients were not as likely to require inpatient addiction treatment with a much higher cost involved.
There are a growing number of studies and a growing library of literature that show the treatment approach used with emergency department care will affect the outcome for opioid dependence. Patients who have opioid dependence will benefit the most from emergency department care that includes the immediate initiation of medication as well as follow up referral for more comprehensive treatment of substance abuse. The NIDA funded the latest research on opioid dependence. Individuals who develop an addiction to opioid narcotics may start taking a legally prescribed pain medication for legitimate reasons. Over time a dependence on the drug occurs, and the patient may start taking the drug more frequently or in larger amounts than what was originally prescribed.