As opioid use continues to rise in the United States, emergency departments are experiencing an influx of patients suffering from overdose. Given the high patient volume, need for swift bed turnover, and focus on somatic care, overdose survivors are often discharged with little to no guidance or treatment of their chronic disease: addiction. This presentation will examine some of the barriers emergency departments encounter in their efforts to best serve the needs of overdose survivors and patients who are at significant risk for overdose. It will also evaluate a pilot program in one suburban and three urban hospitals that use peer recovery specialists embedded in their emergency departments to provide counseling, support, and access to recovery services for overdose survivors.


Priya Mammen, MD, MPH is Assistant Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Sidney Kimmel Medical College and Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals (TJUH). She currently facilitates Emergency Department-based public health initiatives in the TJUH system, such as safe opioid prescribing guidelines and opt-out HIV testing.

Brian Holler, MPH is the Special Programs Manager in the Office of Overdose Prevention at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Behavioral Health Administration. There he manages the Harold Rogers-funded Predictive Risk Evaluation to Combat Overdose Grant (PRECOG), the Overdose Survivors Outreach Program, and a number of other data-driven projects to combat Maryland’s opioid epidemic.

Additional Resources

Dr. Priya Mammen’s Slides
Brian Holler’s Slides