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EMS Leads the Country with Opioid Treatment

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Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in Contra Costa County are Saving More Lives with Medication for Addiction Treatment

MARTINEZ, Calif. - Amzeal -- The Contra Costa County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Pilot Project is the first in the country to launch a pilot project for paramedics to provide medication for addiction treatment (MAT) directly to patients in withdrawal from opioid use disorder. This is a critical juncture, as Emergency Medical Services (EMS) have a wide reach and contact with high-risk individuals.

This project maximizes the EMS response to provide treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD) and harm reduction measures to both prevent future overdoses and encourage long-term treatment. Having paramedics trained in evidence-based OUD treatment makes them a logical point of intervention and an integral part of a system-wide community of caregivers helping people with OUD.

4 Simple Steps for OUD Treatment
This project includes four pillars to support OUD care:
  1. Buprenorphine Initiation (MAT for OUD) by paramedics
  2. Data Linkage to care between EMS responders and the Department of Public Health with 72-hour follow-up by a Substance Use Navigator
  3. Public Access to Naloxone/Narcan program
  4. Overdose Receiving Center (e.g., hospital) with specialized personnel and resources.

Patient Experience

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A patient who benefited from the project expressed gratitude to Tambra Divine, a Substance Use Navigator at Contra Costa Health Services, and the paramedic who treated him, "He knew what he was doing. He offered me suboxone [brand name for MAT]!! He really wanted to help me. I never saw this anywhere before. I really appreciate the call. It makes me think people really care." At the time of the call, he was driving to the pharmacy to pick up his prescription. As a Substance Use Navigator, Divine works with paramedics to follow up with patients who've been administered MAT to help them with prescriptions and linkage to continued treatment and support.

Community Impact
Funding began with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) for the integration of opioid treatment through EMS. The CARESTAR Foundation has funded the project into implementation. This funding provides a proof of concept so that other EMS agencies and health systems roll out similar efforts. "Ultimately, this project has the potential not only to save lives in the community of Contra Costa County but to serve as a model for similar interventions across the state and nation," says Dr. Gene Hern, EMS Project Director of the CA Bridge program at the Public Health Institute. If these changes are integrated across systems of care, the project anticipates fewer overdoses after patient interactions with the EMS system, increased follow-up and retention in ongoing MAT treatment after patient interactions with EMS, and reduced racial disparities in overdose fatalities.

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Find out more https://cabridge.org/general/ems-pilot-project/

Contact
Skye Christensen
***@cabridge.org


Source: CA Bridge
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Filed Under: Health

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