Americans dealing with opioid addiction are having trouble with the US health care system. The two biggest issues, often dealt with in the ER, are lack of ability to deal with addiction and prohibitive expenses.
Hospitals are able to manage symptoms, but have trouble when it comes to the actual addiction. Giving medication to patients in the ER could double the number of opioid addicts that seek treatment; however, most hospitals are instead discharging patients with a list of addiction clinic phone numbers, if they are even doing that much.
Another problem is the high price of drugs, especially for the uninsured. Even hospitals that are willing and able to provide medication are dealing with patients that choose to forego them due to affordability problems.
Additionally, while nonprofit hospitals are required to have financial assistance programs, they may not be notifying patients of these options.