Consensus Recommendations on the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder in the Emergency Department

Kathryn Hawk, Jason Hoppe, Eric Ketcham, Alexis LaPietra, Aimee Moulin, Lewis Nelson, Evan Schwarz, Sam Shahid, Donald Stader, Michael P. Wilson, Gail D'Onofrio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The treatment of opioid use disorder with buprenorphine and methadone reduces morbidity and mortality in patients with opioid use disorder. The initiation of buprenorphine in the emergency department (ED) has been associated with increased rates of outpatient treatment linkage and decreased drug use when compared to patients randomized to receive standard ED referral. As such, the ED has been increasingly recognized as a venue for the identification and initiation of treatment for opioid use disorder, but no formal American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) recommendations on the topic have previously been published. The ACEP convened a group of emergency physicians with expertise in clinical research, addiction, toxicology, and administration to review literature and develop consensus recommendations on the treatment of opioid use disorder in the ED. Based on literature review, clinical experience, and expert consensus, the group recommends that emergency physicians offer to initiate opioid use disorder treatment with buprenorphine in appropriate patients and provide direct linkage to ongoing treatment for patients with untreated opioid use disorder. These consensus recommendations include strategies for opioid use disorder treatment initiation and ED program implementation. They were approved by the ACEP board of directors in January 2021.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAnnals of Emergency Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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