Addiction Consult Service at Massachusetts Hospital Help Patients Navigate Treatment

    A hospital in Salem, Massachusetts is one of the few in the United States with addiction medicine specialists, NPR reports.

    Salem Hospital, north of Boston, has an “addiction consult service,” funded through a federal grant. The service includes a nurse practitioner certified in addiction care, a patient case manager and three recovery coaches. They draw on their experience with addiction to advocate for patients, and help them navigate treatment options.

    The nurse practitioner, Liz Tadie, told NPR that doctors, nurses and other clinicians get little training in the physiology of addiction and withdrawal. They are not trained in addiction medications and treatment options. Existing training often is unhelpful, Tadie said. “A lot of the facts are outdated,” Tadie said. “And people are training to use stigmatizing language — words like ‘addict’ and substance ‘abuse.’”

    Tadie said demand for the consult service is very high, and on many days they are overwhelmed with referrals.

    Four other hospitals in Massachusetts also have added addiction specialists in the past three years, paid for by federal funding from the HEALing Communities study. The project aims to determine the most effective ways to reduce overdose deaths. Researchers are studying the integration of prevention, overdose treatment and medication-based treatment in select communities hard hit by the opioid crisis.


    October 2022