Piloting a statewide emergency department take-home naloxone program: Improving the quality of care for patients at risk of opioid overdose

Acad Emerg Med. 2022 Apr;29(4):442-455. doi: 10.1111/acem.14435. Epub 2022 Jan 28.


Background: Emergency department (ED) patients with nonfatal opioid overdose are at high risk for subsequent fatal overdose, yet ED programs aimed at reducing harm from opioid use remain underdeveloped.

Objectives: The objective was to pilot a statewide ED take-home naloxone program and improve the care of patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) and risky drug use through training and interprofessional network building.

Methods: Nine hospital EDs with pharmacy, nurse, and physician champions were recruited, surveyed, and trained. Take-home naloxone rescue kits were developed, disseminated, and tracked. Two overdose prevention summits were convened prior to the COVID pandemic, and two X-waiver training courses aimed at emergency physicians and advanced practice providers were arranged, both in person and virtual.

Results: A total of 872 naloxone rescue kits were distributed to ED patients at risk of opioid overdose during the first phase of this project, and more than 140 providers were trained in the use of medications for OUD in acute care settings.

Conclusions: A statewide ED take-home naloxone program was shown to be feasible across a range of different hospitals with varying maturity in preexisting OUD resources and capabilities. Future work will be aimed at both expanding and measuring the effectiveness of this work.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • COVID-19*
  • Drug Overdose* / drug therapy
  • Drug Overdose* / prevention & control
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Naloxone / therapeutic use
  • Narcotic Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Opiate Overdose*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / prevention & control
  • Quality of Health Care


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Naloxone