One reason the Task Force encourages increased education and training for medication assisted treatment (MAT) is so that drug addicts can be treated in the same realm as others suffering from any other disease. MAT is defined by using conventional therapies in conjunction with medications that have proven successful at helping people struggling with substance abuse stay clean. It is most often used for those trying to stay off of opioid medications.
1. Methadone Maintenance: Patients have to go to the clinic daily to get their dose of medication. It not only suppresses withdrawal symptoms, it stops cravings as well. Methadone is meant to be taken long-term.
2. Suboxone Maintenance: Suboxone helps keeps withdrawal symptoms away, but isn’t subject to the same regulations as methadone. Patient receive a monthly prescription that can be taken home. It is considered a “safer” medication as it contains naloxone (an opiate blocker) and prevents users from getting high if they use other opiates.
3. Vivitrol: This is a monthly injection given by a doctor that blocks the brain’s opiate receptors, making it impossible to get high from any opioid. It is also approved to help manage alcohol cravings.
In 1972 when methadone became the first maintenance drug on the market for opioid treatment, the government put tons of rules and regulations on methadone clinics. These regulations set the stage for the beginning of social stigmas against taking medication for opiate addiction, especially since many people believe drug addiction is a choice and not a disease.
Only recently, with overdose rates and deaths higher than ever, are people treating substance abuse as a health crisis and not a criminal or moral issues.
The large majority of addiction treatment centers push 12-step programs like AA or NA. They often take clients to outside meetings so they are taught to believe that’s the “right” way to recovery. Medication Assisted Therapy is then often stigmatized as replacing one addiction with another. With death tolls rising from the opiate epidemic in our nation, new ways of thinking should be considered. It’s okay to try different methods and therapies such as 12-step programs, SMART Recovery, Women for Sobriety and Celebrate Recovery.
Remember, recovery isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of thing! To learn more about Medication Assisted Detox (MAT), contact Revive Detox at (844) 467-3848.