I don’t really understand the resistance to medication assisted treatment (MAT) for addiction — according to NIH:
Medications are Not Widely Used
Less than 1/2 of privately-funded substance use disorder treatment programs offer MAT and only 1/3 of patients with opioid dependence at these programs actually receive it.8
The proportion of opioid treatment admissions with treatment plans that included receiving medications fell from 35 percent in 2002 to 28 percent in 2012.9
Nearly all U.S. states do not have sufficient treatment capacity to provide MAT to all patients with an opioid use disorder.10
Research has shown that, especially with opioids, medication is an essential tool in treatment. This is also from NIH:
Effective Medications are Available
Medications, including buprenorphine (Suboxone®, Subutex®), methadone, and extended release naltrexone (Vivitrol®), are effective for the treatment of opioid use disorders.
- Buprenorphine and methadone are “essential medicines” according to the World Health Organization.3
- Medications should be combined with behavioral counseling for a “whole patient” approach, known as Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT).
MAT DECREASES opioid use, opioid-related overdose deaths, criminal activity, and infectious disease transmission.4,5,6 After buprenorphine became available in Baltimore, heroin overdose deaths decreased by 37 percent.6
MAT INCREASES social functioning and retention in treatment.4,5 Patients treated with medication were more likely to remain in therapy compared to patients receiving treatment that did not include medication.4
Treatment of opioid-dependent pregnant women with methadone or buprenorphine IMPROVES OUTCOMES for their babies; MAT reduces symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome and length of hospital stay.7
At NewDay, we’ve experienced great results using a combination of medication, group therapy and individual counseling. Medication assisted treatment has proven its effectiveness. As we all learn more about best treatment practices, we can establish national standards so that quality of treatment is not hit and miss. Addiction is too serious to ignore the research on the use of medication in addiction treatent. Opioid addiction has become a national problem, and it’s time to address the problem with intelligence and consistency.