An ED visit for opioid overdose may be a person’s only contact with the medical and behavioral health care systems and is an important opportunity to reduce risk of subsequent overdose and death. While ED initiatives to engage people with opioid use disorder (OUD) are being increasingly implemented, there are significant gaps in the receipt of services at the time of the ED encounter.
This is a retrospective cohort study of an outreach pilot project providing real-time telehealth delivered buprenorphine initiation and referral to community harm reduction and addiction treatment services via a follow up telephone call to patients after an ED visit for an opioid overdose.
From January 2020 to April 2021 there were 606 patients with an ED visit for an opioid overdose eligible for a callback. Of the 606 eligible patients, 254/645 (42%) patients could be contacted and accepted service and/or treatment referrals. Fifteen patients were connected same-day to a buprenorphine prescriber for a telehealth encounter and, of connected patients, nine received a buprenorphine prescription.
A post-ED follow up telephone call protocol is an opportunity to improve treatment engagement and access to buprenorphine for patients at high risk for opioid overdose and death.

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