Research has shown the combination of medication along with psychosocial therapy is the best form of opioid addiction treatment for most people. Unfortunately, many people do not receive the treatment they need, either due to lack of access to providers, or due to misunderstandings and stigmas related to Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).
A common misconception is that MAT simply replaces one drug for another. However, this view does not reflect the reality of what MAT actually does and how the medications work. When a patient receives MAT, they are moving from using opioids in an unsafe, destructive and often illicit manner, to a highly regulated medication that has been FDA approved for the specific purpose of treating addiction. Medication is administered under the care of trained physicians and medical professionals. Additionally, the medications used in our Medication-Assisted Treatment programs differ in important ways compared to commonly abused pain pills or heroin. The medications most commonly used in MAT are methadone and buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone). These medications provide relief for the physical withdrawal symptoms and cravings associated with opioid dependence while preventing the euphoric effects of other opioids. The most appropriate medication and dosing will be determined by the needs of the patient in consultation with one of our physicians.
MAT programs are highly regulated with many safeguards in place to ensure that patients receive therapeutic doses and supportive services such as counseling and behavioral interventions. With the support provided by our counseling team and clinicians, patients learn new coping skills and strategies to deal with triggers and environmental stressors associated with their addiction. When the needs of the patients go beyond what we are able to address directly, we work to connect patients to appropriate supportive services within the community.
The combination of therapeutic medications with counseling has been shown to be the most effective form of treatment in producing positive patient outcomes. But don’t just take our word for it…
“This treatment approach has been shown to: improve patient survival, increase retention in treatment, decrease illicit opiate use and other criminal activity among people with substance use disorders, increase patients’ ability to gain and maintain employment, [and] improve birth outcomes among women who have substance use disorders and are pregnant.”- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
“Relative to outpatient, abstinence-oriented drug addiction treatment, office-based outpatient treatment (OBOT) with buprenorphine improves six-month treatment engagement, significantly reduces cravings, illicit opioid use and mortality and improves psychosocial outcomes.”- American Society of Addiction Medicine
“Results of randomized, controlled studies revealed that MAT combined with counseling reduced unauthorized opioid use significantly better than counseling alone.”- National Drug Court Institute