When it comes to opioid addiction, the most beneficial approaches begin sooner rather than later. For example, the most ideal way to treat addiction is by preventing it from starting in the first place. Studies have shown that early intervention, education, and prevention programs in children and young adults can significantly reduce risk of substance abuse. But in the event that addiction does occur, a new study out of Yale University has revealed some important facts about providing treatment to opioid addicts.

Treatment can Begin in the Emergency Room

In a prior study, researchers at Yale University found that when opioid addicts went to the emergency room (ER; for example, in the case of a heroin overdose), they were more likely to get treatment and reduce future opiate use if they were given medication-assisted treatment (specifically, buprenorphine) in the ER. They were also less likely to need inpatient addiction treatment later on. However, patients in that study were only followed for 30 days after their ER visit. In order to make a more definitive statement on effective treatment, long-term data is needed. This is true for any novel treatment, particularly when medication is involved. Many addicts may be inadvertently affected by an overdose or a visit to the ER, impacting their immediate willingness to get help, engage in treatment, or reduce drug use. But the real test of efficacy would be after a significant time period has passed. If a treatment is still effective after a long-term assessment, it shows a more permanent and therefore significant effect, and indicates that the treatment in question could help people achieve disease stability. The researchers of this initial study knew this, and just released the follow-up data.

Long-Term Data Supports Addiction Treatment in the ER

The most recent data published by the same group of Yale researchers again shows that patients are more likely to receive addiction treatment, and reduce their intake of opiates if medication such as buprenorphine is administered in the ER to offset cravings. The study followed up with the same group of addicts initially studied, and patients were assessed at two, six, and 12 months following their initial ER visit and administration of buprenorphine. After two months, patients who were given buprenorphine in the ER following an overdose were more likely to be in some form of addiction treatment, and to report lower drug use, than the other groups.

These studies show that when it comes to helping addicts get the help they need, and stick with addiction treatment programs, the earlier the intervention- the better.

Help is Available

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, the professional staff at Serenity Acres is ready to help. Call today for your free confidential assessment, to see if inpatient treatment may be the answer you are looking for: 1-800-203-2024.