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Text-Messaging Telehealth and Contingency Management for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Engagement

Funding Source


Project Period

11/1/22 - 10/31/27

Principal Investigator

Mucio Delgado, MD, MS (University of Pennsylvania)

Other Project Staff

Bethany Raiff, PhD, Margaret Lowenstein, MD, MPhil, MSHP, David Asch, MD, MBA, MSHP, Anna Morgan, MD, MSc, MSPH, Jeanmarie Perrone, MD, Austin Kilaru, MD, MSHP, James McKay, MD, David Mandell, ScD, Kevin Lynch, PhD, Matthew Salzman, MD, Andrew Herring, MD, Erik Anderson, MD, MS.

Project Summary

The United States faces a crisis of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and overdose. Overdose deaths claimed 93,000 lives in 2020—up 30% from the year before. Buprenorphine is a safe and effective medication that can be taken at home to treat opioid addiction. It has been shown to cut the risk of dying in the next year by half. However, nationwide only 1 in 6 emergency department (ED) patients with OUD receive addiction treatment in the weeks after they are discharged, and Black patients are half as likely to receive this treatment.

The research team seeks to increase the number of patients with OUD who engage in buprenorphine treatment after an ED visit and to address the racial gap in who receives treatment. It is testing two strategies separately and in combination. One involves a daily text messaging, telehealth program that encourages patients to take their medication and connects those who need help with a trained care coordinator. The other involves paying patients who start and continue receiving addiction treatment.

Public Health Relevance

Health systems can use results from this study to augment their usual care with one or more strategies to increase the number of patients with OUD who receive potentially life-saving treatments following discharge.