Cooper’s Addiction Medicine Leadership Participate in Medication for Addiction Treatment and Emergency Referrals (MATTERS) Roundtable

On June 2, 2022, leaders from Cooper’s Division of Addiction Medicine participated in the MATTERS Roundtable event, “Opioid Use Disorder and Connection to Treatment,” in Buffalo, NY, 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 the University of Buffalo Department of Emergency Medicine, 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 for Excellence. 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 events, 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