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Oklahoma State University

Medication-Assisted Treatment in the Emergency Department to Start at OSU Medical Center

Monday, December 9, 2019

OSU Medical Center in Tulsa.

Physicians in the Emergency Department at Oklahoma State University Medical Center will begin offering medication-assisted treatment for opioid related disorders in partnership with the National Center for Wellness & Recovery at OSU Medicine.

Due to the opioid epidemic and the proliferation of opioids in the United States, it is now more likely for a person to die from an opioid overdose than a car crash. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combines counseling and cognitive behavioral therapy with FDA approved medication to treat opioid use disorder. MAT for a substance use disorder is akin to using insulin to manage diabetes.

OSU Medical Center plans to provide buprenorphine, one of the medications approved by the FDA for MAT, to patients that present for an opioid overdose or opioid related incidents in the medical center’s emergency department. Patients will be given medication, and then scheduled for a follow up appointment at an OSU Medicine clinic once they are discharged. Buprenorphine saves lives by curbing painful withdrawal symptoms and stabilizing brain chemistry, without the dangerous side effects associated with opioids. OSU Medicine physicians and faculty know that by linking a patient to counseling and therapy following an emergency room visit, it improves the likelihood of treatment retention and long-term recovery.

“Opioid withdrawal presents a critical intervention point to help save lives. We know that the best outcomes for patients recovering from a non-fatal opioid overdose is achieved with medication-assisted treatment. With this initiative we are able to provide a pathway for care that will treat the problem and not just provide a temporary solution.” said Jason Beaman, D.O., Chair of the OSU Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Director of Training & Education for the National Center for Wellness & Recovery.

“Ultimately, we do not want to lose more lives to the opioid epidemic. This partnership just makes sense – lives are saved and emergency resources are not stretched with return patients,” said Aaron Lane, D.O., Interim Chair of the OSU Department of Emergency Medicine.

The mission of the National Center for Wellness & Recovery at OSU Medicine is to improve the lives of those affected by pain and substance use disorders through treatment, education, research and policy. More information can be found at


Media Contacts: Melani Hamilton | OSU Center for Health Sciences | 918-561-8462 |    
Jamie Calkins | OSU Medical Center | 918-693-3183 |

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