Substance Use Disorder Prevention & Treatment

MHA is committed to working with member hospitals, the Governor’s administration, the legislature, other providers, and most importantly, patients, to curb the current opioid crisis in Massachusetts. Below please find a series of guidelines developed by MHA to assist hospitals in creating programs for Medication for Addiction within the Emergency Department,  Opioid Management within a Hospital Setting, Emergency Department Opioid Management, and for Preventing Opioid Misuse in Hospitals.

Additional resources below include: websites to identify substance use disorder treatment providers and locations, training to allow practitioners to prescribe buprenorphine, and websites with information from experts in substance use disorder treatment.

Updated Guidelines for Substance Use Disorder Evaluations

MHA, in collaboration with the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians, has developed guidelines on Substance Use Disorder Evaluations (SUDEs). Chapter 52 of the Acts of 2016 requires any patient arriving in an emergency department (ED) or a satellite emergency facility (SEF) who is experiencing an overdose or who was administered naloxone before arriving, to undergo an SUDE within 24 hours. Chapter 208 made several updates to SUDEs and these updated guidelines reflect those changes.

The guidelines are available here: MHA – MACEP Joint SUDE Guidelines

Additionally, the SUDE statute requires five criteria that must be part of the SUDE and incorporated into the hospital medical record. While providers are able to develop their own form or process for obtaining this information, the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership (MBHP) has developed a form for adult populations and a form for youth. Please note that nothing precludes a provider from developing a format or process within their own EMR or other system.

The two MBHP evaluation forms are available here:

ESP Adult Comprehensive Assessment

MCI Comprehensive Assessment


Guidelines for Medication for Addiction Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder within the Emergency Department

MHA, in collaboration with the Massachusetts College of Emergency Physicians and with practitioners from member hospitals, including specialists in emergency medicine, addiction medicine, behavioral health, and nursing, developed these guidelines to assist hospitals in developing Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) programs in emergency departments or satellite emergency facilities.

These guidelines focus primarily on buprenorphine, which has the most well-developed evidence base for feasibility and efficacy in the emergency department setting. The information includes:

  • Clinical and operational recommendations;
  • Prescribing guidelines, including information for practitioners on how to obtain an X waiver to prescribe buprenorphine;
  • Information on the laws and regulations in place to allow hospitals to discharge patients with a take-home kit of buprenorphine;
  • Template/customizable patient fact sheets; and
  • A provider directed Q & A.

The guidelines are available here: Guidelines for Medication for Addiction Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder within the Emergency Department

Customizable versions of the two patient fact sheets are available here:

Template Patient Fact Sheet
Modified NIDA Guide for Patients Beginning Buprenorphine Treatment at Home


Guidelines for Opioid Management within a Hospital Setting

The MHA Substance Use Disorder Prevention and Treatment Task Force (SUDPTTF) approved and issued a second set of guidelines outlining several provider and operational recommendations related to prescribing opioid and/or opiate medications within a hospital setting, including hospital owned/affiliated clinics or physician practices. The goal is to develop a general standard for limiting the use of or finding alternatives to prescription opioids.  We encourage all hospitals to adopt the recommendations.  The guidance includes the following materials:


Guidelines for Emergency Department Opioid Management

These guidelines establish a baseline emergency department (ED) operational practice that will: standardize opioid prescribing practices, provide guidance on screening patients seeking opioid prescriptions, offer information on appropriate pain management and treatment, and help identify resources for patients needing substance use treatment. The overall goal is to better enable ED providers to take an active role in limiting inappropriate access to opioid pain medications. The materials include the following:


Guidelines for Preventing Opioid Misuse in Hospitals

The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA) and Tufts Medical Center, working with hospital clinicians and operational staff in Massachusetts and other states developed the following two documents that outline a patient centered approach to for the prevention of opioid misuse by patients admitted for care and treatment in a hospital inpatient setting:

The Inpatient Opioid Misuse Prevention Guidelines identify best practices (clinical practices and operational policies) to optimize patient care through standardizing

  • Screening for opioid use disorder among patients admitted for inpatient level care;
  • Prevention of inpatient acute opioid withdrawal through opioid agonist treatment (OAT);
  • Working with patients and visitors to identify and prevent non-prescribed opioids from being brought into a hospital setting.

The Patient and Family Agreement on Opioids was written specifically for patients, families, and visitors. Among the goals of developing a patient centric model of care, the document outlines the roles and responsibilities of the patient and families/visitors to work with hospitals to reduce the presence of non-prescribed opioids within a hospital setting that may adversely impact a patient’s care and treatment.


Other Resources