Identification, Management, and Transition of Care for Patients With Opioid Use Disorder in the Emergency Department

Ann Emerg Med. 2018 Oct;72(4):420-431. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2018.04.007. Epub 2018 Jun 5.


Because of a soaring number of opioid-related deaths during the past decade, opioid use disorder has become a prominent issue in both the scientific literature and lay press. Although most of the focus within the emergency medicine community has been on opioid prescribing-specifically, on reducing the incidence of opioid prescribing and examining alternative pain treatment-interest is heightening in identifying and managing patients with opioid use disorder in an effective and evidence-based manner. In this clinical review article, we examine current strategies for identifying patients with opioid use disorder, the treatment of patients with acute opioid withdrawal syndrome, approaches to medication-assisted therapy, and the transition of patients with opioid use disorder from the emergency department to outpatient services.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Pain Management
  • Patient Transfer*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Triage*