Oakland, CA, Friday,  May 21, 2021

As Overdoses Spike Nationwide, California Hospitals Lead the Way in Addiction Treatment 

California hospitals join forces to identify best practices for addiction treatment, adapting the latest evidence-based treatment for real-world medical settings.

The Centers of Excellence, a new CA Bridge initiative, addresses the overdose epidemic specifically by treating opioid and stimulant use disorders. CA Bridge chose seven hospitals from a competitive field. The determination was based on hospital readiness to serve as a regional leader and pilot innovative approaches to support people who use drugs, which includes:

  • Arrowhead Regional Medical Center
  • El Centro Regional Medical Center
  • Highland Hospital
  • LAC-USC Medical Center
  • Marshall Medical Center
  • UC Davis Medical Center
  • Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital

The Centers of Excellence will expand low-threshold access to medication for addiction treatment (MAT), which is proven to decrease overdose rates and illicit drug use. The cohort will also pilot approaches to treating methamphetamine and other use disorders in the emergency department and serve as a resource for hospitals throughout the state. “As rates of overdose rapidly rise across California, we need urgent action. Centers of Excellence hospitals are leaders in addiction treatment, working to provide exceptional clinical care in emergency departments and hospitals,” says Dr. Hannah Snyder, Co-Director of CA Bridge. 

Centers of Excellence activities include:

Innovation and Practice
Expand on low-threshold, rapid treatment for patients with opioid use disorder by adopting evidence-based care practices for stimulant and other addiction treatment. 

In partnership with the UCLA School of Medicine, participate in a multi-site research study to identify factors related to successful care engagement and retention for patients treated for opioid use disorder in the emergency department. 

Dissemination and Training
Provide training and technical assistance to California hospitals to support the implementation of addiction care statewide. 

There’s no time to waste. An analysis of preliminary data by the Commonwealth Fund found that monthly overdose deaths have spiked 50 percent since the pandemic started, which is the most significant single-year percentage increase in the past two decades. The Centers will leverage current knowledge of evidence-based medicine and improve patient outcomes to save lives, providing access to those who need it most. 

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California Bridge is a program of the Public Health Institute. Our goal is that people with substance use disorder receive 24/7 high-quality care in every California health system.  Funding for Bridge is provided through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant to the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).