69 Initiation of an Emergency Department Buprenorphine Induction and Medication-Assisted Treatment Referral Program in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Ann Emerg Med


Study Objective: The prevalence of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) has been rising in the United States. Buprenorphine induction for OUD in the emergency department (ED) setting has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment. The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the limited outpatient resources and access to care for patients with OUD. We report 1-year results on implementation of an electronic medical record (EMR) based Screen, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) program with ED-based peer recovery coaches to assist with warm handoffs to treatment. Methods: This was a single-center, retrospective chart review in an urban academic ED from March 2020 through April 2021. The EMR was reviewed and ED visits in which a patient was administered a dose of buprenorphine were identified. ED visits in which patients received a dose of buprenorphine were further reviewed to determine whether the medication was for buprenorphine induction or a continuation of home medication and whether a warm handoff to a treatment program was provided. Results: We identified 148 ED visits in which a patient was administered a dose of buprenorphine in the ED over the 13-month study period. Of those visits, 78 patients (55%) were determined to have received a dose of buprenorphine for induction of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) of OUD. All 78 were linked to a treatment program with a warm handoff. Of those 78 patients, 51 (65%) were referred to outpatient programs and 27 (35%) were referred to inpatient programs. Conclusion: The implementation of our buprenorphine induction and medication-assisted treatment program coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program successfully initiated treatment of OUD in opioid withdrawal with linkage to treatment facilities.

PubMed ID

Not assigned




1097-6760, 0196-0644

First Page


Last Page