In an effort to combat opioid and heroin addiction in our communities, Mercy Medical
Center Redding has implemented a new program that will provide 24/7 treatment for substance use disorders. The California Bridge Program considers the emergency room and acute care hospitals as a critical window for initiating treatment.

People with opioid addiction often come into the Emergency Department (ED) because they have either overdosed, are in withdrawal or they are suffering from other addiction-related medical issues. According to the California Department of Public Health, in 2018 there were 8,832 ED visits related to opioid overdose in California. A referral to an addiction treatment program has been the most that hospitals have generally been able to provide for patients identified as needing treatment for opioid use disorder. Through this program, when patients are suffering from withdrawal they will be offered a dose of medication such as buprenorphine to ease severe symptoms of withdrawal, and then they will be connected with outpatient treatment in the community.

“Buprenorphine is commonly known by the brand names of Subutex or Suboxone. Buprenorphine is itself an opioid but works differently than the other opioids like morphine, hydrocodone, or oxycodone,” said Kathleen Delikowski, Mercy Medical Center Redding Director of Pharmacy.

“Buprenorphine is an alternative to methadone maintenance therapy that is more widely available from physicians and pharmacies. Buprenorphine is considered the therapy of choice for medication assisted therapy for opioid use disorder.”

Studies have shown that patients given this option of medication designed for addiction treatment are more likely to remain in care than those who are given referral information alone. Redding Rancheria Recovery Center has partnered with Mercy Medical Center Redding as our Bridge Clinic. Together we can assure our patients that they will have a smooth transition from initial medication administration to continued care.

The Public Health Institute’s Bridge program is funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grant to the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).