CleanSlate Blog

Emergency Rooms are Starting to Treat Addiction Patients Like They Have a Disease. Because They Do.

by Tracey Cohen, M.D. | Feb 8, 2019

For reasons related largely to stigma and lack of understanding about addiction, the mainstream medical industry has long been reluctant to integrate addiction treatment into the traditional healthcare system.

But as the opioid epidemic grinds on, experts and policymakers are recognizing that the old solutions aren’t working. More people are suggesting that medication-assisted treatment (MAT) should play a significant role in how we help people with addiction, and that this treatment should be approached as part of the standard patient-doctor experience.

Some leaders around the country are acknowledging that one of the best times to engage people in addiction treatment is during a visit to the emergency room, especially during withdrawal or after an overdose. Massachusetts, for example, has now enacted legislation to mandate that all ERs in the state treat addiction patients with medication.

If more widely adopted, this shift could help people who suffer from addiction immediately begin medical treatment and stem withdrawals, thus minimizing or avoiding relapses that might find them back in the ER.

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What You Don't Know About a Pill Could Kill You

by Tracey Cohen, M.D. | Jan 24, 2019

Through our work in addiction medicine, the CleanSlate team is on the frontlines of the vast human suffering caused by the opioid epidemic. Some of the most tragic stories we currently encounter involve counterfeit medications.

Last year, at the Healthy Tennessee Opioid Summit, Carrie Luther shared the story of her 29-year-old son, Tosh. After Tosh came down with a case of hives that was keeping him up at night, a friend gave him a Xanax to help him sleep. As instructed, Tosh took one quarter of one pill. Unbeknownst to Tosh or his friend, the Xanax was actually fentanyl. From just a sliver of one pill, Tosh ingested thirteen times the lethal dose of fentanyl and died within 30 minutes from an overdose.

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If you or someone you know suffers from the disease of addiction, please call 833-505-HOPE to speak with a professional.

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