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Emergency Medical Minute


Oct 22, 2019

Author: Don Stader, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Abstinence from substances such as tobacco or alcohol are effective strategies to achieve long term sobriety
  • However, abstinence is not an effective strategy for achieving sobriety with opiate use disorder (OUD)
  • Up to 90% of those who use an abstinence-only strategy for OUD will relapse within a month. 
  • Attending a rehabilitation facility increases mortality in those with OUD due to decreased tolerance and higher rates of overdose. 
  • Medication-assisted therapy (MAT) with naltrexone, buprenorphine or methadone for OUD is supported by evidence, and is the preferred method for achieving remission


Nielsen S, Larance B, Degenhardt L, Gowing L, Kehler C, Lintzeris N. Opioid agonist treatment for pharmaceutical opioid dependent people. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 May 9;(5):CD011117. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD011117.pub2. Review. PubMed PMID: 27157143.

Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Save Lives. 2019 Mar 30;. doi: 10.17226/25310. Review. PubMed PMID: 30896911.

Summarized by Will Dewispelaere, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

Music credit: “Smooth Lovin” by Kevin MacLoed ( Licensed under Creative Commons By Attribution 3.0 License.