Mid-Missouri hospitals to launch pilot program to help those opioid addicts

Emergency rooms at Boone Hospital and University Hospital in Columbia are part of a pilot program trying to help opioid addicts. Dr. Leslie Porth with the Missouri Hospital Association tells Missourinet affiliate KSSZ in Columbia federal grants and state funding are paying for the program. She says it’s a medication-first model, meant to get those who overdose as much help as possible before they leave the ER.

“We are using that opportunity to help them get plugged in immediately to treatment for the opioid use disorder as well as providing additional support,” she says.

Porth says those who overdose would get a drug that minimizes cravings and would talk to a “peer recovery coach” before they leave the emergency room.

“It’s kind of a warm handoff between the medical treatment and the recovery treatment that’s needed for these individuals,” she says.

Porth goes on to say that health care is starting to think about addiction more like diabetes or hypertension.

“These people need medical treatment and ongoing intervention to manage this chronic condition,” she says.

Porth says the goal is to have the pilot fully launched next month.

By Brad Tregnago of Missourinet affiliate KSSZ in Columbia