CA Bridge

California Bridge logo

CA Bridge is working to ensure that people with substance use disorder receive 24/7 high-quality care in every California health system by 2025. We seek to fully integrate addiction treatment into standard medical practice—increasing access to treatment to save more lives.


Active Projects

National Emergency Department MAT Initiative

The CA Bridge Program, a program of the Public Health Institute, is one of three partners launching a national initiative to increase access to medication for addiction treatment (MAT) through emergency departments. Only an estimated 5% of people with substance use disorder (SUD) receive MAT, an evidence-based treatment. Our goal is that hospitals will treat SUD with the same priority as any other life-threatening chronic illness. Within the proposed national initiative, CA Bridge will focus on building capacity for the delivery of MAT in acute care settings.

Our strategies include: development of tools and resources for MAT in acute care settings; delivery of training to hospitals in and outside of California; and technical assistance on MAT implementation to hospitals, health systems, and partners.

Contra Costa County EMS Partnership for Opioid Response

After paramedics respond to a 911 call to reverse an opioid overdose, they have a unique opportunity to offer these very high-risk patients treatment for their underlying addiction. Contra Costa is the first county in California to obtain approval for a pilot project to offer this treatment by enabling paramedics to administer buprenorphine (medication for the treatment of opioid use disorder) from the ambulance and follow-up with outreach to connect patients to ongoing care. CA Bridge is collaborating with the County and UCLA to study the impact of this intervention and to share these practices with other county EMS agencies.

Youth Opioid Response

There are unique challenges faced by young people who use drugs. Adolescents and young adults are experiencing fast-growing rates of opioid overdose and hospitalization, yet have the lowest rates of access to treatment. A landmark randomized controlled study demonstrated that our Emergency Departments are uniquely positioned to reverse these trends and provide a lifeline to people facing addiction. This project will demonstrate the effectiveness of youth-focused outreach, education, and service delivery for substance use disorder treatment to better serve this vulnerable population.

Completed Projects

CA Bridge - Core Support

When we create universal access to MAT throughout California hospital emergency rooms, we will have reached a scale unmatched by any other state. This will have tremendous positive implications on rates of addiction, overdose, and death, along with a reduction in the social costs of addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimated in 2011 that nationwide, substance abuse costs $740 billion a year in costs related to crime, lost work productivity, and health care--a number that has only increased in the intervening years. Because our work is pushing the boundaries of how people who use drugs receive care, it has important national implications. Our model is already having an impact outside of California; our web resources have been downloaded by clinicians in 26 other states with elements of the CA Bridge model being replicated in Colorado, Texas, and West Virginia. Across the country, we are seeing a greater movement towards approaches in hospitals that lower barriers to care and put the needs of the patient first.

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