First Bridge Clinic

A clinic in Kentucky that offers timely treatment of underlying opioid use disorder when patients access the healthcare system for opioid-related consequences

In 2018, the First Bridge Clinic, through a partnership of UK Healthcare and University of Kentucky School of Medicine’s Center on Drug and Alcohol Research and funded through the 21st Century Cures Act, began providing easily accessible services for patients with opioid use disorder (OUD) to initiate immediate evidence-based treatment. The program was born out of the observation that many people who came into the healthcare system for medical complications related to OUD and injection drug use never received treatment for the underlying reason for these complications.

The First Bridge Clinic offers comprehensive evidenced-base OUD treatment to people that present to the healthcare system with a nonfatal overdose, infectious diseases like HIV or Hepatitis C, infections of the heart valves (endocarditis), infection of the bone (osteomyelitis), or abscesses. Services provided include:

  • buprenorphine induction
  • medication management and counseling
  • nurse care navigation
  • peer support services
  • overdose prevention and naloxone training 

In addition, the clinic may begin someone on buprenorphine that lives in a remote area and ensures that the person has continuation of care closer to home.

First Bridge clinic is open five days a week and is in close proximity to the hospital. Bridge clinics like this one have been replicated nationwide and guidelines for implementation can be found here

Of the 80 patients enrolled in the first year, 75 percent have remained in treatment for at least 30 days.

Continuum of Care
Harm Reduction
Type of Evidence
Response Approach
Early Intervention
Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
Overdose prevention

Evidence of Program Effectiveness

There is no formal evaluation yet of this program although they self-report a 60% success rate. Also self-reported is that, of the 80 patients enrolled in the first year (2018), 75 percent have remained in treatment for at least 30 days.