Medication Assisted Treatment, or MAT, is a clinical therapy used to help patients with opioid use disorder. It involves the prescribing of certain opioid substitutes combined with behavioral therapies to create a holistic approach to patient care. This allows those struggling with substance use disorder, especially opioid dependency, to continue functioning while being rehabilitated from the disease.
Colorado MAT Pilot
The Office of Behavioral Health recently announced that two Colorado hospitals, St. Anthony North Health Campus and University of Colorado Hospital, will receive grant funding to pilot a MAT program in their emergency departments (EDs). The ED is an optimal location to connect with individuals in need of substance use disorder treatment and it is critical that access is expanded to include MAT for all those struggling with this disease. As part of the Colorado Opioid State Targeted Response grant, CHA and the Office of Behavioral Health and will assist in their effort to expand access to substance use disorder treatment.
What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?
MAT is the use of FDA-approved medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.
What medications can be used to treat opioid addiction?
The FDA has approved the use of methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone to be used for the treatment of opioid dependence and addiction to short-acting opioid such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone.
Who is medication-assisted treatment for?
MAT is primarily used to help individuals who are dependent on opioids such as heroin and prescription pain relievers that contain opiates.
How does MAT help?
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 effects of the abused drug.
Is Medication-Assisted Treatment replacing one drug for another?
No. Buprenorphine is not an opiate substitute and does not provide feelings of getting ‘high’ or extreme euphoria. It is a safe and effective medication for treating opiate dependency and substance use disorder. Research has identified that patients undergoing Buprenorphine treatment do not suffer the same social and behavioral destabilization that correlates in active drug addicts and abusers.