Naloxone (Narcan®) One Pager

This interactive one-pager provides all the info you need about Naloxone use  (Narcan®) and includes links to resources on the use of Naloxone, such as how to order this life saving drug for free in the District of Columbia.

Download the Resource Here

New Treatment Center – Arlington Recovery Center

Arlington Recovery Center opened its doors this year and includes both Withdrawal Management and Early Recovery programs.

New Resource for People Facing Addiction

For individuals having difficulty with substance use, the first step to a better life involves withdrawing  from alcohol or drugs. The new Arlington Recovery Center – a partnership between the County and National Capital Treatment and Recovery (NCTR) – is ready to help people with that journey. Arlington Recovery Center opened its doors this year and includes both Withdrawal Management and Early Recovery programs.

“Some individuals need medications to help them safely withdraw from the effects of drugs or alcohol,” said Deborah Warren, who is Executive Director of the Arlington County Community Services Board and Deputy Director of the Arlington County Department of Human Services. “This new Withdrawal Management program provides that critical service. In addition, NCTR will be operating at the same site a 90-day residential substance use Early Recovery Program, another important resource for people on their recovery journey.”

National Capital Treatment and Recovery, formerly Phoenix House and before that Vanguard Services, has been working with Arlington County for nearly 60 years on the problems of substance use in the County.

“We are sincerely grateful to be able to be providing an enhanced Medical Model of care that will improve engagement, retention, and outcomes for the individuals we will serve,” said Debby Taylor, NCTR President and CEO. “The Evidence Based Curricula and Medication Assisted Treatment that will be utilized has improved outcomes for NCTR patients and others throughout the County for many years.”

Making it Easy to Get the Help You Need

“At Arlington Recovery Center, one goal is to eliminate barriers and make treatment accessible to those who seek it,” said Peggy Cook, LPC, LSATP, who will be leading the program having recently retired from Fairfax Community Services Board after 32 years of service. When an individual calls, staff conducts a phone screening.  During this screening, basic demographic, medical and substance use information is gathered. Staff assess the patient’s needs and ensure that the needs can be met safely in the residential setting and do not require hospitalization.  Once this is completed, the individual is given admission information and comes to the program.

Withdrawal Management: How It Works

“There has been a large increase in opioid deaths since Covid began,” said Taylor. “Now more than ever, it is important that people have a safe option and the help they need to address their illness. Sometimes the first step is the hardest. Now we are here to help with that first step, and all along the way.”

It can be medically dangerous for people to discontinue using drugs and alcohol without proper medical oversight and intervention. The Withdrawal Management program will make sure the patient has what they need to safely withdraw:

  • Individuals who come to the program are monitored closely.
  • Medical staff reviews the individual’s vital signs and withdrawal symptoms.
  • Some individuals will require medications to help them safely withdraw from the effects of drugs or alcohol. If medication is needed, it is ordered and administered.
  • Clinical staff provides a safe, supportive environment.
  • Individual and group counseling helps the individual take his or her first step into recovery.
  • Individuals are encouraged and assisted in making connections to other community resources and treatment options to support ongoing recovery.

Early Recovery Program

This is a 90-day residential substance abuse treatment program.  Often people who attend Withdrawal Management will need ongoing treatment and support to learn recovery and coping skills.  The treatment program will be available to individuals who need this level of care and will help them learn the skills needed to live a life of recovery.


The new program’s predecessor at the same location on Columbia Pike was operated most recently by Volunteers of America and offered “social model detox” services, which included a supportive environment with 24-hour monitoring, but no medical interventions. The state has been phasing social model detox programs since 2017. The new model aligns with industry best practices and is expected to better meet community needs.

Need Help?

Arlington Recovery Center
1554 Columbia Pike
Arlington, VA 22204
*Call 703-228-0033 to complete a phone screening to determine eligibility and to schedule an admission.

States Allowing Telehealth Prescriptions for Opioid Use Disorder

Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government implemented several telehealth flexibilities to allow states to maximize access to medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD). While these flexibilities remain allowable until the end of the federal public health emergency (PHE), state approaches to prescribing MOUD via telehealth currently vary greatly: some states explicitly allow it, some explicitly do not allow it, and some state PHEs have expired, effectively ending the practice in the absence of further guidance regarding prescribing MOUD via telehealth. This map provides a snapshot of current telehealth MOUD state policy 18 months into the COVID-19 pandemic.

View the resource

My Recovery DC

Treatment and recovery are part of the journey from addiction to health.

Miss America Discusses Opioid Addiction

Miss America Addresses SYNChronicity 2020

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Use Disorder in Jails and Prisons: A Planning and Implementation Toolkit

People who have been incarcerated are approximately 100 times more likely to die by overdose in the first two weeks after their release than the general public. Despite high rates of opioid use disorder among justice-involved individuals, evidence-based medications exist and can be successfully implemented within jails and prisons.

To reduce risk of opioid overdose and recidivism and to better serve incarcerated individuals with opioid use disorder, the National Council, in partnership with Vital Strategies and faculty from Johns Hopkins University, developed a new resource guide titled: Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Jails and Prisons: A Planning and Implementation Toolkit.

Minnesota Opioid Prescribing Guidelines, First Edition 2018

This is the first edition of the Minnesota Opioid Prescribing Guidelines. The guidelines provide a framework for the appropriate use of opioid analgesia within the larger context of pain management. Specifically, these guidelines aim to reduce the inappropriate use of opioid analgesia, limit the oversupply of prescription opioids in the community and reduce variation in opioid prescribing behavior and above all else, improve the safety and effectiveness of treatments for pain and reduce the potential for harm of such treatments.

Framing Opioid Prescribing Guidelines for Acute Pain: Developing the Evidence

The epidemic of opioid misuse and overdose, combined with the need to reduce the burden of acute pain, poses a significant public health challenge. To address how evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for prescribing opioids for acute pain might help meet this challenge, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (National Academies) to develop a framework to evaluate CPGs, recommend indications for which new evidence-based guidelines should be developed, and recommend a future research agenda to inform and enable the development and dissemination of evidence-based CPGs.

The resulting report, Framing Opioid Prescribing Guidelines for Acute Pain: Developing the Evidence, recommends two frameworks—an analytic framework and an evidence evaluation framework—that medical professional societies, health care organizations, and state, national, and local agencies could use to develop CPGs for prescribing opioids to manage acute pain.

Local Opioid Prevention and Response: A Primer for Local Health Departments

Create a free account and download the link on the right side of page. Local Opioid Prevention and Response: A Primer for Local Health Departments serves to inform local health departments about the domestic opioid epidemic and share success stories from LHDs currently engaged in opioid-related efforts.

Motivational Interviewing (MI) Resources and Webinars

Motivational Interviewing is a clinical approach that helps people with mental health, substance use disorders and other chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, and asthma make positive behavioral changes to support better health.

Topics to Cover With Patients Who Smoke & Snort

Heroin is a drug in the opium family (an opioid). Some opioids, like methadone and Demerol, are completely man-made. Others, such as morphine and heroin, are made from opium in a lab. All opioids have similar effects. Heroin is about three times stronger than morphine.

NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse – Opioids

Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and many others.

Provider’s Clinical Support System for Medication-Assisted Treatment

PCSS is a program funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) created in response to the opioid overdose epidemic to train primary care providers in the evidence-based prevention and treatment of opioid use disorders (OUD) and treatment of chronic pain. The project is geared toward primary care providers who wish to treat OUD. PCSS is made up of a coalition, led by American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP), of major healthcare organizations all dedicated to addressing this healthcare crisis. Through a variety of trainings and a clinical mentoring program, PCSS’s mission is to increase healthcare providers’ knowledge and skills in the prevention, identification, and treatment of substance use disorders with a focus on opioid use disorders.

Offering Naloxone to Patients

Here you will find information you need to start prescribing and dispensing naloxone rescue kits, including some useful resources containing further information about this life-saving medicine. We are prescribers, pharmacists, public health workers, lawyers, and researchers working on overdose prevention and naloxone access. We compiled these resources to help health care providers educate their patients to reduce overdose risk and provide naloxone rescue kits to patients.

PEG13: A Three-Item Scale Assessing Pain

Inadequate pain assessment is a barrier to appropriate pain management, but single-item “pain screening” provides limited information about chronic pain. Multidimensional pain measures such as the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) are widely used in pain specialty and research settings, but are impractical for primary care. A brief and straightforward multidimensional pain measure could potentially improve initial assessment and follow-up of chronic pain in primary care.

Needle Exchange in DC

The DC Needle Exchange Program (DC NEX) will keep our communities safe by stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and connecting people to the health services they need. The District of Columbia Department of Health, HAHSTA supports comprehensive harm reduction programs. This includes:

  • a needle exchange program that works to reduce the numbers of injection drug users (IDU) who are infected with HIV in the District
  • helping to increase the number of District residents who know their HIV and Hepatitis C status, and
  • ensuring people with HIV and Hepatitis have access to care and treatment.

Opioid Awareness Campaign and Education

In 2017, there were 279 overdose deaths that involved the use of opioids in the District. DC Health in conjunction with Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) Prescription Drug Overdose – Data Driven Prevention Initiative launched an opioid awareness and education campaign. The purpose is to bring attention to the dangers and risks of opioid misuse and abuse. Together, we can help protect the lives of Washingtonians and decrease the use of prescription drugs and opioids across the city.

Understanding the Opioid Overdose Epidemic

Drug overdose deaths continue to increase in the United States.

  • From 1999 to 2017, more than 700,000 people have died from a drug overdose.
  • Around 68% of the more than 70,200 drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved an opioid.
  • In 2017, the number of overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and illegal opioids like heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl) was 6 times higher than in 1999.
  • On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.

Buprenorphine Practitioner Locator

Select a state from the map or use the drop down lists to view all of the practitioners waived to provide buprenorphine for the treatment of OUD in a city, state or zip code.

Getting Off Right: A Safety Manual for Injection Drug Users

A compilation of medical facts, injection techniques, junky wisdom, and common sense, this manual reflects HRC’s commitment to providing accurate and unbiased information about the use of illicit drugs with the goal of reducing harm and promoting individual and community health.

Opioid Risk Tool (ORT)

The Opioid Risk Tool (ORT) is a brief, self-report screening tool designed for use with adult patients in primary care settings to assess risk for opioid abuse among individuals prescribed opioids for treatment of chronic pain. Patients categorized as high-risk are at increased likelihood of future abusive drug-related behavior. The ORT can be administered and scored in less than 1 minute and has been validated in both male and female patients, but not in non-pain populations.

Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS)

The Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS) is an 11-item scale designed to be administered by a clinician. This tool can be used in both inpatient and outpatient settings to reproducibly rate common signs and symptoms of opiate withdrawal and monitor these symptoms over time. The summed score for the complete scale can be used to help clinicians determine the stage or severity of opiate withdrawal and assess the level of physical dependence on opioids. Practitioners sometimes express concern about the objectivity of the items in the COWS; however, the symptoms of opioid withdrawal have been likened to a severe influenza infection (e.g., nausea, vomiting, sweating, joint aches, agitation, tremor), and patients should not exceed the lowest score in most categories without exhibiting some observable sign or symptom of withdrawal.

CDC Pocket Guide: Tapering Opioids for Chronic Pain

Consider tapering to a reduced opioid dosage or tapering and discontinuing opioid therapy when your patient:

  • requests dosage reduction
  • does not have clinically meaningful improvement in pain and function (e.g., at least 30% improvement on the 3-item PEG scale)
  • is on dosages ≥ 50 MME*/day without benefit or opioids are combined with benzodiazepines
  • shows signs of substance use disorder (e.g. work or family problems related to opioid use, difficulty controlling use)
  • experiences overdose or other serious adverse event
  • shows early warning signs for overdose risk such as confusion, sedation, or slurred speech

2019 Recommendations of the AMA Opioid Task Force

The AMA Opioid Task Force is comprised of the American Medical Association, and 25 specialty and state medical societies as well as the American Dental Association. In 2014-15, the Task Force issued six recommendations focused on ways in which physicians could take specific actions to help reverse the nation’s opioid epidemic. Physicians have demonstrated progress in each of these areas, and it is clear that which much work remains, policymakers have an increasing role to play. The 2019 recommendations are focused on tangible actions policymakers can take to help end the epidemic.

Free MAT Trainings for Prescribers

PCSS is a national training and clinical mentoring project developed in response to the opioid use disorder crisis. Our education and training resources were developed for primary care providers. The overarching goal of PCSS is to provide the most effective evidenced-based clinical practices in the prevention of OUD through proper opioid prescribing practices, identifying patients with OUD, and the treatment of opioid use disorder.