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2 N.H. Hospitals Testing Starting Treatment for Opioid Addiction in the Emergency Department

Emergency departments in Claremont and Manchester are testing out a new approach to addiction treatment for opioid users, collaborating on a federally funded study with Bellevue Hospital in New York City.

In most hospitals across the country, patients presenting with complications from drug use, or having overdosed, are treated for their immediate concerns but referred elsewhere for help with their addiction.

Increasingly, physicians say this is not the most effective approach.

“When someone is ready to try treatment, we need to be ready to give it, then and there,” said Lisa Marsch, director of the Dartmouth Center for Technology and Behavioral Health, and one of the leaders of the study.

Valley Regional Hospital and Catholic Medical Center are now offering patients the option to start medication-assisted treatment for their opioid use right away, working with local treatment providers to secure ongoing care.

The study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, will look at the feasibility of providing this service in the emergency department. Researchers will track patients over time, looking at outcomes for both those who opt-in for immediate treatment, and those who don’t.

The project is expected to run about two years.

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