Effective Treatments for Opioid Addiction
Opioid Treatment Program
Opioid treatment programs provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for persons diagnosed with opioid-use disorder. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA ) explains, “MAT is the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Research shows that when treating substance-use disorders, a combination of medication and behavioral therapies is most successful. Medication assisted treatment (MAT) is clinically driven with a focus on individualized patient care.”
The duration of treatment should be based on the needs of the persons served and take into consideration the benefits of MAT. The medications used to achieve treatment goals include methadone and buprenorphine, which are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the use in the treatment of opioid-use disorder.
Services are directed at reducing or eliminating the use of illicit drugs, criminal activity, and/or the spread of infectious disease while improving the quality of life and functioning of the persons served. Opioid treatment programs follow rehabilitation stages of sufficient duration to meet the needs of persons served.
Opioid Use Disorder Affects Millions
- Over 2.5 million Americans suffer from opioid use disorder which contributed to over 28,000 overdose deaths in 2014.1,2
- Use of opioids, including heroin and prescription pain relievers, can lead to neonatal abstinence syndrome as well as the spread of infectious diseases like HIV and Hepatitis.
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.4,5,6After 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