The emergency department (ED) has long been recognized as providing critical access to the health care system for many, yet only in the past few decades has the ED visit been recognized as an opportunity to identify and link patients to care for substance use disorders (SUDs). This review explores the evidence for ED-based screening, psychosocial and pharmacological interventions, and linkage to treatment for the spectrum of SUDs including high risk alcohol use and alcohol, opioid, tobacco and other SUDs. Despite knowledge gaps, methodological challenges and some inconsistency across interventions studied, opportunities for EDs to improve the care of patients across the spectrum of SUDs are robust.

Kathryn Hawk and Gail D’Onofrio

Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 2018, 13:18

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