Utilization of peer-based substance use disorder and recovery interventions in rural emergency departments: Patient characteristics and exploratory analysis.

The current opioid crisis has necessitated timely, grassroots social entrepreneurship from stakeholders involved in the substance-use disorder and recovery fields. One such innovation involves the use of peer-recovery-support services in acute settings in which points of contact are made with high-risk substance-using populations. These programs have emerged organically in emergency departments (EDs) across the country. The Georgia Council on Substance Abuse, Northeast Georgia Community Connections Program is a peer-recovery-support service (PRSS) that uses certified addiction-recovery empowerment specialists (CARES) in rural EDs in Georgia, a Medicaid nonexpansion state. In this study, we reviewed initial data from the Community Connections Program captured at rural EDs. Patients (N = 205) met the American Psychiatric Association’s (2013) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM—5) criteria for substance-use disorder. This study demonstrated that peer interventions can be beneficial for all types of drug use, not just for individuals who experience accidental opioid drug poisoning (i.e., overdose). In addition, results suggest that both clinical and community-based supports can be used for referrals to appropriate levels of care. These findings also highlight the utility of innovative and adaptive peer-recovery-support programs in rural EDs across the United States. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)