Our vision is that all hospitals will treat opioid addiction and all substance use disorders. CA Bridge was officially launched in 2018 with a grant from the California Department of Health Care Services MAT Expansion Project. We are a program of the Public Health Institute, based in Oakland, California.
We are disrupting the addiction treatment landscape by championing the idea that substance use disorder is a condition that can, and should, be treated by medical professionals like any other life-threatening condition. Most medical providers do not view addiction treatment as part of their job, so people who use drugs are often stigmatized, sometimes treated for other conditions, and sent on their way with a list of often inaccessible specialty addiction clinics. Our goal is to transform addiction treatment by ensuring that every hospital in California provides 24/7 access to evidence-based care.
We are advancing the use of evidence-based medications for addiction treatment (MAT), most commonly buprenorphine, which has been shown to reduce relapse among people suffering from opioid use disorder. Hospitals across the country have started providing MAT in their emergency rooms, but most use restrictive protocols that do not put the needs of the patient front and center and miss opportunities to promote recovery.
The CA Bridge model dramatically lowers barriers to treatment by eliminating unnecessary tests and quickly providing patients in withdrawal with immediate relief from withdrawal symptoms. By simplifying the process, the CA Bridge model works in the real world of busy hospital emergency rooms.
Once patients are stabilized, they are better equipped to engage in a conversation about long-term treatment with a substance use navigator—a peer from the community, often with lived experience. Our model is based on a harm reduction perspective that emphasizes rapid, patient-centered care.