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January 31, 2022

Short-Acting Opioids for Hospitalized Patients With Opioid Use Disorder

Author Affiliations
  • 1National Clinician Scholars Program at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 2Leonard Davis Institute, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
  • 3Division of Addiction Medicine, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland
JAMA Intern Med. 2022;182(3):247-248. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.8111

A few months ago, I found one of my patients panhandling on his usual corner. He was in bad shape. Maggots were crawling through a wound where he regularly injected drugs and his bandages were soaked with pus. He was desperate to return to the hospital. First, though, he needed money for a “stash,” a supply of opioids to use while hospitalized. After leaving the hospital half a dozen times because of untreated pain and withdrawal, he had adapted. Now he always came prepared, even if it meant delaying care for days.

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