Medication assisted treatment is a type of recovery treatment for people suffering from an addiction. It usually entails them being prescribed a controlled course of methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone and is often accompanied by counselling or group therapy. There are unfortunately a lot of misconceptions that fly around about MAT, partly due to the prevalence of abstinence-based treatment programs. Critics argue that MAT replaces an addiction to one substance for an addiction to another.
However, that is not the case. Participants in MAT programs receive a controlled dose of methadone or buprenorphine which is enough to curb cravings and withdrawal without the high they would get from a larger dose. Research has shown that when provided at the proper dose, medications used in MAT have no adverse effects on a person’s intelligence, mental capability, physical functioning, or employability.
Buprenorphine has become particularly popular as a treatment because it is safer than methadone. MAT is an internationally recognized form of treatment and significantly reduces the risk of overdose and death in the patient. It is a great option of treatment for people with a severe opioid use disorder who want to stop using opioids but struggle going cold turkey.
There is still a lack of access to MAT programs in the US, and availability can depend on the state you live in or your level of healthcare coverage. Unfortunately, stigma has resulted in political barriers that might have made these services easier to access, but they are regarded as being very effective by many medical experts. They are also a lot cheaper than going to an inpatient rehab facility.