3 ways to help opioid use disorder patients access specialized treatment

Numerous resources and strategies exist for physicians seeking to help patients with opioid use disorder access specialized care, according to AMA Wire.

Kelly Clark, MD, president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, said physicians should first perform a traditional assessment of the patient to identify specific treatment needs before taking any action to secure specialist care.

Dr. Clark also shared three strategies for physicians looking to send patients with opioid use disorder to specialists:

1. Use search tools to find specialists. ASAM's website contains a list of specialists that is searchable by name, city state and ZIP code. They can also be filtered by board certifications, such as addiction medicine, preventive medicine, psychiatry or neurology.

2. Form relationships with specialists. Physicians should make the most of their connections and relationships through state and county medical societies to better locate specialists treating opioid use disorder, according to Dr. Clark.

3. Learn how to provide specialized treatment. Dr. Clark suggests physicians take an eight-hour course to gain certification for administering buprenorphine. Physicians could also take a 40-hour course offered by ASAM, highlighting the fundamentals of addiction medicine.

"Primary care physicians and doctors of all types can enter the fight against the opioid epidemic," Dr. Clark said.

More articles on opioids: 

Scripps ER physician Dr. Roneet Lev: How hospitals are 'missing the boat' when it comes to the opioid epidemic

Senate passes final opioids bill: 5 things to know

3 ways clinicians can prevent opioid dependency among chronic pain patients

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