We are engaging health care systems to implement new models for making substance use treatment available 24/7 to anyone who needs it.

Throughout our work we emphasize three core elements:

Low barrier initiation of treatment.

Our model is based on a harm reduction perspective that emphasizes rapid, patient-centered care. We eliminate medically unnecessary tests and do not require patients to abstain from other substances or commitment to sobriety to begin treatment. We streamline the process to make it work in the real world of busy hospital emergency rooms.

Community connection.

Our focus on connection includes a strong relationship with community treatment providers who will accept patients referred from the hospital within 72 hours with minimal barriers. It also includes outreach and communication with community institutions, such as jails, homeless camps, or drug houses, to make treatment available to vulnerable populations.

Culture shift.

We promote a hospital culture that respects people who use drugs and opposes discrimination. We strive to foster human connections that recognize people who use drugs as whole persons with complex strengths, challenges, and life situations, like all other patients. We use a harm reduction framework that moves past judgment of a person’s drug use to achieve any positive changes that reduce the negative consequences of substance use disorders.

Projects

Clinical Training and Technical Assistance

We offer clinical training and technical assistance for any hospital from any state in the US that is interested in starting a medication for addiction treatment (MAT) program. Our training and technical assistance programs introduce hospital champions to the wide breadth of CA Bridge materials and resources for MAT implementation.

Centers of Excellence

We are establishing a culture of evidence-based medicine to treat substance use disorders (SUD) in acute care settings throughout California, establishing six to eight Centers of Excellence at select hospitals to serve as leaders in SUD care.

Engagement of Emergency Medical Services

As the mobile medical providers who respond to overdose and other medical emergencies, Emergency Medical Services has a wide reach and critical contact with high-risk individuals and their families. When an ambulance responds to a 911 call for a drug overdose, paramedics administer treatment.

Substance Use Navigator Support

The Substance Use Navigator (SUN) is an integral part of supporting medication for addiction treatment (MAT) in the acute care setting. CA Bridge provides training and support for SUNs to be effective in helping patients access care and integrating harm reduction practices and culture into hospital MAT programs.

Sustainability of Substance Use Navigators

Substance Use Navigators (SUNs) are peers from the community, often with lived experience. SUNs may have a designation, such as certified drug and alcohol counselor or licensed clinical social worker, though the most important requirement is that they are nonjudgmental, energetic, and positive.

Research and Evaluation

We collect data from participating hospitals to document the reach and impact of hospital-based medication for addiction treatment (MAT) and to support quality improvement.