Video Caption: Video from the Medication for Addiction Treatment and Emergency Referrals (MATTERS) Roundtable, “Opioid Use Disorder and Connection to Treatment,” in Buffalo, New York. Individuals at the event included Renoj Varughese, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, University at Buffalo and Director of Telemedicine, MATTERS; Robert McCormack, MD, MBA, FACEP, Professor and Chairman of Emergency Medicine, University at Buffalo and Physician Advisor, MATTERS; Michael Dailey, MD, FACEP, Professor of Emergency Medicine, Albany Medical Center; Emma Furlano, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Albany Medical Center and Capital Region Physician Liaison, MATTERS; Dara Kass, MD, Director for Region 2, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Rachel Haroz, MD, FAACT, Division Head of Toxicology and Addiction Medicine, Cooper University Health Care and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University; and Joshua Lynch, DO, FACEP, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, University at Buffalo and Founder and Medical Director, MATTERS.
On June 2, 2022, leaders from Cooper University Health Care, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, MATTERS, the University at Buffalo Department of Emergency Medicine (UBEM) and Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Albany Medical Center, the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) and Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), Evergreen Health Services, Horizon Health Services, BestSelf Behavioral Health, and Cheektowaga Police Department participated in the MATTERS Roundtable event, “Opioid Use Disorder and Connection to Treatment,” in Buffalo, New York, to discuss expansion of the MATTERS network and to increase access to substance use disorder (SUD) treatment.
The MATTERS program was founded in 2016 at UBEM, and is based on the public health model of prevention and treatment to decrease opioid prescribing in Buffalo-based emergency departments (EDs). Appropriate prescribing guidelines were established for prescribers and patients, with the guidelines then endorsed by major health care and urgent care systems throughout Western New York. From 2015 to 2018, EDs in major academic health care centers throughout Buffalo documented a more than 50% decline in opioid prescribing. The program expanded to continue training ED physicians and advanced practice providers on responsible and safe opioid prescribing, evidence-based medication for addiction treatment (MAT) with a focus on buprenorphine medication, and rapid referrals to MAT and recovery support.
The MATTERS program developed a standardized dosage of buprenorphine medication that ED physicians can administer to patients with opioid use disorder who are in withdrawal. Patients are then provided with a mobile device that provides community clinic options where they can follow up for long-term MAT and recovery support within 24 to 48 hours. Those who have Medicaid or who are uninsured also receive a medication voucher to fully cover the cost of a buprenorphine prescription for up to 14 days, redeemable at pharmacies throughout New York, and those who indicate they are in need of transportation assistance are offered a cost-free round-trip ride to their first follow-up MAT appointment. Patients are offered these resources regardless of insurance status, co-occurring drug usage, and/or medical history. If a patient isn’t experiencing withdrawal in the ED, they are given instructions on how to self-administer the buprenorphine medication at home when they begin experiencing severe symptoms of withdrawal.
The program is now available throughout New York EDs, hospital inpatient units, correctional facilities, and other locations, and will expand to adjacent states, including New Jersey. The MATTERS app is available for free download at the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Rachel Haroz, MD, FAACT, serves as Division Head of Toxicology and Addiction Medicine at Cooper and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University. She also serves as Community Relations Director at the Cooper Center for Healing, which is recognized by the State of New Jersey as a MAT Center of Excellence (COE). It is an integrated center that provides innovative, compassionate care for patients with SUD, pain, trauma, and psychiatric disorders, at clinical practice locations in Camden, Blackwood, and Pennsville. Clinical services offered include MAT, Empowering Mothers to Parent and Overcome with Resilience (EMPOWR) for pregnant and parenting women struggling with substance use or SUD, and full coverage services for SUD and mental health for uninsured people including those experiencing undocumentation.
Through its Center of Excellence designation, the Cooper Center for Healing hosts Addiction Breakfast Clubs, consortia based in Camden County and other Southern New Jersey regions, open to all MAT providers and providers interested in practice implementation of MAT in addition to all community stakeholders supportive of MAT and harm reduction strategies. Through its recurring meetings, the group facilitates peer collaboration and patient referrals, and strategizes ways to improve integrated care. To join an Addiction Breakfast Club, please email Patricia Fortunato, Content Manager at the Cooper Center for Healing, at email@example.com.
Information About Substance Dependence and Substance Use Disorder
Substance Use Disorder (SUD): People can be diagnosed with a specific type of SUD based on the primary substance that they are experiencing issues with, such as opioid use disorder (OUD) or stimulant use disorder. Many patients with SUD experience issues with multiple substances (polysubstance use disorder).
Injection Drug Use (IDU): The overdose crisis—both on a statewide and national level—has also brought to light an increased and ongoing incidence of blood-borne infections, from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to viral hepatitis to bacterial infections. These infections are primarily borne from contaminated drug injection equipment and low vaccination rates among at-risk populations.
Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT): FDA-approved medications can be used to safely and effectively treat OUD, and alcohol use disorder (AUD). MAT is clinically effective to help manage cravings and withdrawal, leading to long-term recovery.
Harm Reduction: For people who stop their treatment plan at any time, or who are not ready to stop using drugs, there are harm reduction strategies and resources to help keep them safe until they are ready to continue their treatment plan or begin a plan.
Sterile Needle and Syringe Access: Sharing needles, and using used needles, increases risk of diseases like HIV and hepatitis. It is critically important for people who inject drugs (PWID) to always use a new, sterile needle and syringe if they are going to inject drugs. Even reusing personal needles can cause damage to skin tissue and veins.
In New Jersey, pharmacies can sell up to two hypodermic needles and syringes, without a prescription, to customers 18 years or older who provide valid photo identification. (P.L.2011, c.183)
Individuals can exchange used supplies and obtain sterile supplies at local syringe services programs (SSPs). The Camden Area Health Education Center (AHEC) provides a mobile van at 2600 Mount Ephraim Avenue where individuals can obtain sterile needles and syringes, fentanyl test strips, condoms, and other lifesaving equipment and resources. Hours of operation are Mondays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Naloxone and Overdose Prevention: All people who use drugs (PWUD), patients who are prescribed opioids, and loved ones should keep naloxone on them in case someone overdoses. The most common form is NARCAN® nasal spray. Naloxone is available with a prescription from providers, and over the counter in pharmacies in New Jersey. Additionally, the New Jersey Harm Reduction Coalition will mail intramuscular naloxone to those who cannot otherwise access it: nextdistro.org/njgate
Support is Available Through Cooper
HIV Testing and Treatment, and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Location
Infectious Disease and Early Intervention Program
3 Cooper Plaza, Suite 513
Camden, NJ 08103
Scheduled Appointment Hours: Mondays to Fridays, 9:00am to 5:00pm
Addiction Medicine Consult Hours: Wednesdays, 9:00am to 5:00pm
HIV Testing Hours: Mondays to Fridays, 8:00am to 4:30pm
Substance Dependence and Substance Use Disorder Outpatient Treatment Locations
Camden Walk-In Clinic
3 Cooper Plaza, Suite 220
Camden, NJ 08103
Walk-In Hours: Mondays to Fridays, 1:30pm to 3:30pm
Walk-in patients are seen in order of arrival.
800 Cooper Street, 4th Floor
Camden, NJ 08102
Scheduled Appointment Hours: Mondays to Fridays, 9:00am to 5:00pm; Tuesdays from 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Cooper Primary and Specialty Care at Camden County College
200 College Drive, Polk Hall
Blackwood, NJ 08012
Scheduled Appointment Hours: Mondays from 9:00am to 5:00pm
Cooper Pennsville Primary Care
390 North Broadway, Suite 100
Pennsville, NJ 08070
Scheduled Appointment Hours: Tuesdays from 8:00am to 4:00pm
Clinical Services Offered at Camden, Blackwood, and Pennsville Locations
- Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT)
- Empowering Mothers to Parent and Overcome with Resilience (EMPOWR) for Pregnant and Parenting Women
- Full Coverage Services for Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health for Uninsured People Including People Experiencing Undocumentation
Substance Dependence and Substance Use Disorder Inpatient Treatment Location
Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper
761 Cuthbert Boulevard
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
Clinical Services Offered at Recovery Village Cherry Hill at Cooper
- Full Continuum of Addiction Care
The Center for Healing, in partnership with Cooper Population Health, is offering SUD patients access to COVID–19 vaccinations and free transportation to and from scheduled vaccine appointments at the Camden County Health Hub, Cooper University Hospital Vaccination Center in Camden, and Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center. For more information about vaccines for COVID–19 or to make yourself or a loved one an appointment to get vaccinated, please click here or call 1.800.8.COOPER (1.800.826.6737). When making an appointment, please ask about the free transportation option.