Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of medications, in combination with counseling and therapeutic interventions, to provide a patient focused approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.
Medications used in MAT are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and MAT programs are clinically driven and tailored to meet each patient’s needs. MAT is primarily used for the treatment of addiction to opioids such as heroin and prescription pain relievers. Research shows that a combination of medication and therapy can successfully treat these disorders.
Opioid treatment programs (OTPs) provide MAT for individuals diagnosed with an opioid use disorder. OTPs also provide a range of services to reduce, eliminate, or prevent the use of illicit drugs, potential criminal activity, and/or the spread of infectious disease. OTPs focus on improving the quality of life of those receiving treatment.
A common misconception associated with MAT is that it supports substituting one drug for another. Instead, these medications relieve the withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings that cause chemical imbalances in the body. MAT programs provide a safe and controlled level of medication to overcome the use of an abused opioid. Research has shown that when provided at the proper dose, medications used in MAT have no adverse effects on a person’s intelligence, mental capability, physical functioning, or employability.