Greg interviews Dr. Kathryn Hawk, an emergency physician and assistant professor at Yale University’s Department of Emergency Medicine. The Yale University Department of Medicine currently has a program aimed at breaking the cycle of use and reducing opioid overdoses in high risk populations.

Greg asks Dr. Hawk about how the Department of Emergency Medicine at Yale University takes a different approach to treatment over the standard method of “treat them and street them” that many emergency departments practice. Dr. Hawk explains that their procedure really started with the chair of their department, Gail D’Onofrio and a project called Project Assert. “… Project Assert was modeled after the Boston Medical Center Program. It’s been running for 17 or 18 years and really the goal of [it] is to provide health workers in the emergency department [with the ability] to provide brief interventions for patients with substance abuse disorders – to link people to treatment, to facilitate referrals. So prior to the opioid epidemic as we currently know it, we had a mechanism in place to really help individuals in the emergency department be linked to treatment and kind of a public health approach to patient’s substance abuse disorders … So I think that public health approach has really shaped the way that we perceive what we are able to do for our patients. You know, I don’t think that it’s necessarily been incorporated into all emergency departments, but I think we’re starting to see more of that as people realize the devastating impact that the opioid epidemic is having in their communities.”

Listen to the podcast to discover how the Yale University’s Department of Medicine utilized a study of 329 patients in their pilot program to help them develop a full-blown program that is better able to treat those afflicted with substance abuse disorder.