J Hosp Med. 2023 Jul 20. doi: 10.1002/jhm.13162. Online ahead of print.
People may use nonprescribed substances during an acute hospitalization. Hospital policies and responses can be stigmatizing, involve law enforcement, and lead to worse patient outcomes, including patient-directed discharge. In the United States, there is currently little data on hospital policies that address the use of substances during hospitalization. In this cross-sectional study, we surveyed clinicians at US hospitals with Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited addiction medicine fellowships about their current practices and policies and what they would include in an ideal policy. We had 77 responses from 55 out of 86 ACGME-addiction medicine fellowships (63.9%). Respondents identified policies at 21.8% of the institutions surveyed. Current responses to inpatient substance use vary, though most do not match what clinicians identify as an ideal response. Our results suggest that the use of nonprescribed substances during a hospitalization may be common, but a majority of hospitals likely do not have patient-centered policies to address this.