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D.C. to enlist ER doctors in battle against opioid addiction

May 07, 2018
  • D.C. Policy Center

On Monday, May 7, 2018, the Washington Times cited the D.C. Policy Center in an article about local responses to the opioid crisis:

D.C. officials plan to administer medications that help with addiction recovery to emergency room patients in the effort to combat the opioid epidemic.

The pilot program for the ER procedure will skirt federal requirements that doctors hold extra certifications to dispense opioid treatment medications, such as buprenorphine.

“We have this actual restriction associated with buprenorphine, in that clinicians have to be certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration to be able to treat someone with buprenorphine,” said Michael Kharfen, senior deputy director of the D.C. Department of Health’s program to combat HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, sexually transmitted diseases and tuberculosis.


The District is one of the few places in the country where the epidemic doesn’t skew toward young white men whose addictions start with prescribed painkillers. The D.C. Policy Center reports that most opioid overdoses in the city happen to older black men who are longtime heroin users. They face a high risk of overdose from synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which medical professionals say is 50 to 100 times more powerful than heroin.

Read the full article: D.C. to enlist ER doctors in battle against opioid addiction | Washington Times

Read more about the opioid epidemic in D.C.: How the D.C. region is responding to the opioid crisis | D.C. Policy Center


D.C. Policy Center

Established in 2016, the D.C. Policy Center is a non-partisan research and policy organization committed to advancing policies for a strong and vibrant economy in the District of Columbia. Through rigorous research and collaboration, the D.C. Policy Center develops and tests policy ideas, disseminates its findings, and engages in constructive dialogue and debate.

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