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Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)


Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in combination with counseling, to treat Substance Use Disorders. This method has proven to be effective, resulting in fewer overdoses and a sustainable recovery. Some medications are used to treat Opioid Use Disorders and others are for Alcohol Use Disorders.

Reduce Cravings

Cravings are caused by a strong need to use a substance and can impact a person’s quality of life and put them at risk for relapse. Cravings may feel stronger when somebody sees certain people, places or things that remind them of their past use. This is called a “trigger”.

Minimize Withdrawal Symptoms

If a person uses substances regularly, their brain may start to depend on it and people may not feel “normal” when they stop using (withdrawal). For substances like opioids, the withdrawal symptoms can be so uncomfortable that the person keeps using even if they don’t want to. For substances like alcohol, withdrawal can be both uncomfortable and deadly.

Sustain Recovery

Substance Use Disorders can be difficult to treat. Research shows that MAT helps people cut back on substance use or stop using a substance completely, helping people achieve and maintain their recovery.

MAT Options

Many people may need help cutting back or stopping their substance use. They can get this help through treatment with MAT. Taking MAT is no different than taking a medication to control diabetes or heart disease. MAT helps people get back to a normal state of mind. It also helps people cope with withdrawal symptoms and cravings, allowing them to live a healthy life. Taking medications for substance use disorders does not cause a new addiction. It is not the same as switching from one drug to another. It helps patients manage their addiction and maintain recovery. Treatment with medication can help people stop drinking alcohol or using opioid drugs like heroin and other prescription drugs such as Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet

What are the medications? 


Buprenorphine can be an effective option to reduce opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms and is generally safer than other opioids. It may also work well for those who cannot visit a clinic every day.


Naltrexone takes away the high that someone feels when they take an opioid. It is taken as a daily pill or once a month as a shot and can be prescribed by anyone who is licensed to prescribe medication.


Naloxone can be used to prevent opioid overdoses. It is given in a nasal spray or shot. People can obtain Naloxone through a health provider, local pharmacy and receive training to use it safely on someone who is having an opioid overdose. All clients discharged from ERC receive 2 nasal doses for emergency use. 


Naltrexone takes away the good feeling that people get when they drink. It is typically taken as a daily pill or a monthly shot.

Clients can be admitted if already prescribed MAT or they may be prescribed it after meeting with our provider.  There are criteria which must be met for a specific MAT to be prescribed.  For example, if you are using methamphetamines, cocaine or cannabis and have no recent or history of opiate or alcohol use you may not be a candidate for MAT. 

How Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Work?

The use of medication-assisted treatment in treating substance abuse disorders can help:

  • Prevent relapse

  • Normalize brain chemistry

  • Block the euphoric reaction of substances

  • Alleviate withdrawal symptoms

  • Reduce cravings

  • Help facilitate therapy

  • Allow patients to focus on personal obligations during recovery

  • Enhance mental health

  • Prevent opioid overdose

  • Treat opioid addiction

  • Reduce prescription pain medication misuse

  • Treat alcohol use disorder

  • Lessen illicit opiate use

The long-term benefits of MAT may include the following:

  • Improved survival rates

  • Increased treatment retention

  • Decreased illicit opioid use and criminal activity among those with SUD

  • Higher patient employment rates

  • Improved birth outcomes in pregnant women with SUDs

  • Lesser risk for HIV and hepatitis C

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