Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Saves Lives

By The Valor Team
Monday, June 24, 2019 at 1:56 pm in
male doctor and male patient

“Effective medications exist to treat opioid use disorder that could help many people recover from opioid use disorder, but they remain highly underutilized. Fewer than half of private-sector treatment programs offer medications for opioid use disorders, and of patients in those programs who might benefit, only a third actually receive it. Overcoming the misunderstandings and other barriers that prevent wider adoption of these treatments is crucial for tackling the problem of opioid use disorder and the epidemic of opioid overdose in the United States”. . . . National Institute on Drug Abuse, June 2018.

There is much evidence to support that the FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of opioid addiction reduce opioid use and opioid use disorder-related symptoms. They reduce the risk of infectious disease transmission and reduce criminal behavior associated with drug use. These medications also increase the likelihood that a person will remain in treatment, which itself is associated with lower risk of overdose mortality, reduced risk of HIV and HCV transmission, reduced criminal justice involvement, and greater likelihood of employment.

Because some maintenance medications are themselves opioids and can produce euphoria in people who are not dependent on opioids, many people have assumed that this form of treatment just substitutes a new substance use disorder for an old one. This belief has, unfortunately, hindered the adoption of these effective treatments. 

The truth is that these drugs affect people who are addicted to opioids differently. At the doses prescribed, the medications do not produce a high, but act to minimize withdrawal symptoms and cravings in addicted persons.

The drugs make it possible for the person to function normally, attend school or work, and participate in other forms of treatment or recovery support services to help them become free of their substance use disorder over time.

The goal of effective treatment would be to eventually wean the person off the maintenance medication, which may take months or years in some cases. Brain circuits that have been altered by prolonged drug use take time to recover and benefit from the medication. In cases of serious and long-term opioid use disorder, a patient may need these medications indefinitely.

Valor's Outpatient MAT program is clinically driven and tailored to meet each client's needs. Treatments include FDA-approved medications such as products containing Naltrexone (oral Naltrexone or Vivitrol) and Buprenorphine products (i.e.. Suboxone) as prescribed by our medical professionals, and included as part of an overall outpatient treatment program.

MAT is primarily used for the treatment of addiction to opioids, but is also used for alcohol cravings.   Medication Assisted Treatment can normalize brain chemistry, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions. MAT can also help people sustain recovery.

Some additional benefits of MAT include improving patient survival, increasing retention in treatment, increasing patients' ability to gain and maintain employment, and improving birth outcomes for women who have substance use disorders and are pregnant.

Read 'Understanding Medication Assisted Treatment'.

The ultimate goal of Valor Recovery Center’s MAT program is full recovery, including the ability for clients to live a sober, self-directed life.

If you or someone you care about needs treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction, reach out. Our qualified team is ready to answer your questions and find a treatment plan that’s right for your situation.

Nothing is more important than health and well-being. If you or someone you care for needs treatment for drug or alcohol addiction, please contact us. We’re here to help!

Call us now at 330-330-8777