Medication Assisted Treatment, commonly referred to MAT, is the use of FDA approved medications combined with behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders. Oftentimes people that use MAT feel segregated, invalid, or that their recovery does not “count,” which results in the stigma of substance use being continuously fueled by ignorance and intolerance. This intolerance comes from the argument that MAT is simply substituting one opioid with another and that this does not necessarily move the needle much, so to say. It is important note that there are two different types of MAT’s that can be prescribed by a doctor.
Doctors can give people opiates that activate the same receptors but are absorbed into the blood over a longer period of time — staving off withdrawal symptoms and breaking a psychological link between taking a drug and immediately feeling high. Doctors can also give someone an opioid antagonist — a non-opioid drug that sits on those same receptors and blocks them — so that if someone relapses, he or she won’t feel anything. (StatNews.com)
It is very important that the doctors prescribing these medications follow a very strict implementation process and run through a thorough assessment before distributing any sort of of MAT to a client. While people are always entitled to their opinion or view of what works best for them, it is imperative to know that what has worked for them may not work for someone else. Recovery is not a one size shoe fits all sort of process but it is important to recognize that these medications, such as Suboxone, Methadone, and Vivitrol, can NOT be the only form of recovery in order for MAT to be successful. Putting a bandaid over a bullet wound does not “fix” the problem. When a person using MAT truly engages in evidence based treatment, SMART recovery, or the 12 steps their recovery is much more likely to be successful.
As a person who found recovery through the 12 steps with an abstinence based foundation, I have learned that a true tolerance of other people’s viewpoints makes me more useful and approachable for others to reach out and seek help. Our goal at Woburn Wellness is to implement numerous different treatment methods for a holistic approach to recovery. We strive to meet each client we encounter with the most professional, compassionate, and understanding manner in order to be of maximum use and support.