Treatment for addiction should be like that for a heart attack: swift, sure and standardized

Published by USA Today
June 4, 2018
by R. Corey Waller, Opinion contributor

he No. 1 cause of death for those under 50 is overdose, but hospital care for addiction is confused and disorganized. That must change.

I am an emergency room doctor who is also board-certified in addiction medicine. I work at many different hospitals, in different states, with different population densities and cultures. I drop in, work a shift or two and go home.

One thing that allows me to seamlessly join an ER staff is that the general approach to any medical problem or injury is well understood. The one major exception is in my area of specialization.

Let me explain. Typically, all the different levels of care needed, from outpatient follow-up to rapid surgical intervention, are either at the location where I am working, or rapidly available with one phone call.


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