Initiation of opioid agonist therapy after hospital visits for non-fatal opioid poisonings in Ontario

Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a significant global public health concern on the rise. The most effective approach to mitigate morbidity and overall mortality in OUD patients is through opioid agonist therapy (OAT). Recent evidence suggests that initiating OAT in the emergency department (ED) increases the likelihood of treatment continuity compared to outpatient referrals alone. Recognizing this, a national clinical practice guideline for OUD management in Canada was issued in 2018 to minimize toxicity risks and promote safer take-home dosing.

This study examined trends in OAT initiation rates for patients presenting to the ED or admitted to hospital with acute opioid toxicity, and to determine if revised clinical guidelines were associated with increased access to OAT.

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