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Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)



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Research has shown that a combination of medication (s) and therapy (s) are successful treatments for substance use disorders.  Through the use of counseling or more specialized psychotherapies an individual has the opportunity to seek changing behaviors, thoughts, emotions, and gain insight about their drug use.  While, the use of medications is used to provide significant relief for or mental and substance use disorders by managing symptoms to the point where people can use other strategies to pursue recovery and begin to move towards the life they deserve. 

According to SAMHSA, counseling and behavioral therapies are a requirement of an opioid treatment program (OTPs).  because “no” single treatment works best. Additionally, because no” single treatment works best, this part of treatment give space for each person’s needs and symptoms be uniquely addressed.  (Federal law 42.CFR 8.12)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is primarily used for the treatment of addiction to opioids such as heroin and prescription pain relievers that contain opiates. It is a clinically driven and tailored program designed to meet each patient’s needs.  The prescribed medication operates to normalize brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions without the negative and euphoric effects of the substance used.  MAT medications are not substituting one drug for another, it is a medicine that relieves the withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings that cause chemical imbalances in the body.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several different medications to treat alcohol and opioid use disorders.   

Co-Occurring Disorders and Other Health Conditions

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The coexistence of both a substance use disorder and a mental illness, known as a co-occurring disorder, is common among people in MAT.


In addition, individuals may have other health related conditions such a hepatitis, HIV and AIDS. 

Opioid Dependency Medications 


Buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone are used to treat opioid use disorders to short-acting opioids such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone.

These MAT medications are safe to use for months, years, or even a lifetime. As with any medication, consult your doctor before discontinuing use.


  • Buprenorphine - suppresses and reduces cravings for opioids.

  • Methadone - reduces opioid cravings and withdrawal and blunts or blocks the effects of opioids.

  • Naltrexone - blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of opioids and prevents feelings of euphoria. "SAMHSA"

Alcohol Use Disorder Medications

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The below are the most common drugs used to treat alcohol use disorder. They do not provide a cure for the disorder, but are most effective in people who participate in a MAT program.

  • Acamprosate - is for people in recovery, who are no longer drinking alcohol and want to avoid drinking. It works to prevent people from drinking alcohol, but it does not prevent withdrawal symptoms after people drink alcohol. It has not been shown to work in people who continue drinking alcohol, consume illicit drugs, and/or engage in prescription drug misuse and abuse.  The medication’s side effects may include diarrhea, upset stomach, appetite loss, anxiety, dizziness, and difficulty sleeping.

  • Disulfiram - treats chronic alcoholism and is most effective in people who have already gone through detoxification or are in the initial stage of abstinence.  Unpleasant side effects (nausea, headache, vomiting, chest pains, difficulty breathing) can occur as soon as ten minutes after drinking even a small amount of alcohol and can last for an hour or more.

  • Naltrexone - blocks the euphoric effects and feelings of intoxication and allows people with alcohol use disorders to reduce alcohol use and to remain motivated to continue to take the medication, stay in treatment, and avoid relapses.       "SAMHSA"

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