Medication Assisted Treatment for Drug Addiction

What Is MAT?

The definition of MAT according to Samhsa, is Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), this is in relation to opioid treatment programs. It combines behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders. There are a few main prescribed medication used in MAT therapy, but their goals are all the same: help the individual not experience the cravings associated with opioids and opiate drug abuse. The relapse rate for clients even after successfully completing a drug rehab are too high, so it is important for addiction treatment centers to take other methodologies into consideration while treating clients for a substance abuse disorder. There are too many overdose deaths to not be trying new therapies for clients who are continuously relapsing. MAT Treatment is the most successful intervention for opioid use disorder.

According to Less than ½ of drug rehabs utilize a MAT program for addiction treatment. Even with ½ of privately funded addiction treatment centers offering a MAT program, only around ⅓ of clients are getting this type of drug addiction treatment.

Stepping Sober can refer you to a variety of inpatient facilities that offer Buprenorphine as part of the addiction treatment protocol, we have researched the top 20 substance abuse treatment centers offering this form of therapy. Studies have shown that clients who attend inpatient programs as opposed to outpatient, have higher success rates of staying off heroin for 90 days. Health insurance providers such as United Behavioral health, Cigna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and Aetna have stopped requiring pre-certification for Suboxone maintenance. The United states government is spending billions on this new relapse prevention method. There are not enough residential treatment centers providing Buprenorphine as a method of relapse prevention. In recent years, more inpatient facilities are coming around to the facts that abstinence based treatment is not the most successful method to stay clean.

Infographic MAT Treatment for Drug Rehab

Medications Used with MAT Substance Abuse Treatment

MAT programming has been around for years, as seen in the above statistics, it is not a common therapy used throughout the substance abuse industry. The conversation however, on MAT treatment is changing. With America currently in a State of Emergency because of the opioid addiction problem, treatment centers and drug rehabs are scrambling to find treatment that reduces relapse rates. Stepping Sober Recovery Center knows MAT Drug Rehab can help. Out of all relapse rates, MAT has been proven to reduce relapse rates by 50%-61%. Those are more of the type of numbers we like to see, MAT treatment saves lives.

The leading medications known in MAT Treatment are Buprenorphine (which is one of the two ingredients in Suboxone and Subutex, also known as subs), Naloxone (also known as Narcan), Vivitrol, Methadone, and there are many more.

Buprenorphine: Is an opiate based medication used to treat heroin and other opioid based addictions in the setting of medical supervision. The pharmacological and safety profile of this medication makes it attractive treatment for clients who may be addiction to heroin or opiates.

Vivitrol: A monthly injection used to curb the opioid receptors in the brain, used often in opioid treatment programs and alcohol addiction rehab.

Methadone: Is another opioid medication used to reduce the withdrawal symptoms in people addiction to heroin or other narcotic drugs without causing the “high”.

Subs: The shortened name for Subutex or Suboxone. These are the brand names associated with Buprenorphine. These are opioid based meds with buprenorphine as the predominant ingredient.

Naloxone: Is usually sold under the brand name Narcan and is a medication used to block the effects of opioids, especially in overdose cases.

Drug Fact* In drug heavy cities, police are said to be administering Narcan up to 20 times per shift.

Methadone and Suboxone are similar in the aspect that they are administered daily in long-term MAT therapy. Both are narcotics that are used to treat opioid dependency with the option to eventually taper off the substance in order to avoid uncomfortable withdrawal experiences. Long-term MAT with the use of these medications goes with the goal of sustained sobriety because these medications are blocking the opioid receptors in the brain and the doses given are so low there is no euphoric effect from the medication.

These methods are life saving because drug users can turn to a regulated medication instead of an unknown substance if the only effect they’re seeking is to stop the withdrawal symptoms.

Vivitrol is a slightly different prescription medication when it comes to administration and concept. Vivitrol is a monthly administered prescription injection that works in the brain to block not only the effects of opioids, but also alcohol. An individual who has received the Vivitrol injection cannot experience the euphoric feeling associated with getting high on heroin and prescription opioids or experience the effects of drinking.


Therapies Used with MAT Addiction Treatment

Just as there are a variety of medications that go along with a Medication Assisted substance abuse Treatment Program, the same idea is behind the therapeutic side of this treatment type. MAT stands for Medication Assisted Therapy, so the idea behind any type of long term medicated maintenance program is to have it correlate directly with the therapy that is being received.

Some of the most common therapeutic programming we offer at Stepping Sober Recovery Center for addiction treatment are cognitive behavioral health (CBH), co-occurring disorder treatment, EMDR Trauma, couples therapy, family systems, pet therapy, art therapy, recreational therapy, these therapies are in group and individual settings.

Inpatient Drug Rehab Therapy

How Do the 12 Steps of Recovery and MAT Coexist?

There is a saying in AA that says,  “AA members should not give medical advice to each other.” This has been a philosophy that has been around since the beginning of AA and the other 12-Step programs. If anyone, at anytime in the rooms has a negative outlook of MAT Treatment, that is the only response that should be given.

Medication Applied Therapy Programs are administered by a Doctor and the licensed therapists. The therapists are giving the counseling and therapy care programming, while the medical team is administering the medication. These are the only people who should be advising an individual on treatment for an opioid use disorder. Each individual has unique needs, each client is treated with a customized MAT treatment program specific to them.

When people are unsure of something, there is usually a negative connotation surrounding the subject matter. Most people have never heard of MAT Treatment, or have no personal experience on the matter. Be mindful to trust a medical opinion over those of people who misunderstand the ideas behind new addiction treatment ideas. Medication Assisted Drug Rehabs are saving lives nationwide, and when it comes to battling against addiction the answer is not clear cut.  

The conversation is changing nationwide as we recognize all the issues surrounding the drug epidemic.

Medication Assisted Drug Rehabilitation Centers

“We only provided outpatient detox for the last 2 years. A client would check in to our program for a week or 10 days. Upon discharge we refered the patients out to a variety of inpatient and outpatient programs. 75% of the patients were returning to detox a few weeks later, some 1 week later. We decided to open a long term program for heroin addicts, using medication assisted treatment with Buprenorphine maintenance. Our patients are on no more than 8mg per day of Suboxone. They attend group and individual therapy 5 days per week and see the doctor at least once a week. The relapse rate for these same addicts who were coming back to detox within 2 weeks has drastically improved. They are staying off heroin and other opioids for months.”

Substance Abuse Treatment Therapy for addiction treatment has two parts. The first part being the administered medication, and the second being the therapy that goes with the medication. Stepping Sober can refer you to top notch clinicians that can help clients heal their whole life starting with the body, and then moving over to the mind and spirit. Having a therapeutically managed MAT program ensures that recovery is the main goal and that these medications are not being abused.

Even though Methadone was previously mentioned as a MAT medication, we at Stepping Sober prefer Suboxone Maintenance and Vivitrol as our recommended methods of MAT for heroin addiction. We do not administer Methadone to any of our clients, but feel because it is such a widely used treatment we should bring it into the discussion.


Medical Assisted Therapy for Drug Rehabilitation Facility


How MAT Drug Rehab Can Prevent Overdose

Most Doctors approach each individual’s situation with a non-judgemental attitude when it comes to addiction treatment. We know that relapse happens and we understand everyone has their unique situations and personalities and this is why customized drug rehab programs are so crucial in order to sustain a prolonged recovery.

We see MAT programming extremely successful when it comes to clients who have been in and out of drug rehabs various times in the past or recent years. By blocking the cravings and receiving therapeutic care at the same time, MAT programs have high success rates and low relapse rates. When it comes down to saving lives to overdoses, we are ready to use any therapy that can aid in overdose prevention.

Medication Assisted Treatment for Drug Addiction Opioids

Most Recovery Centers administer Suboxone or Subutex for medical detox protocols it is provided on a case by case basis for those who have been approved through our medical screening. We have our medical team take each client’s situation into close consideration before making their recommendation on MAT programming.

If you or someone you know is sick and tired of being sick and tired due to this horrible disease of addiction, we can help. At Stepping Sober we offer customized treatment programming according to each client’s individual needs.

Suboxone and Subutex are both used in medical detox from opioids including heroin, oxycontin, Percocet and Vicodin. Once the patient is in full blown withdrawal, the medicine is administered under the tongue and most of the symptoms are alleviated. The length of your detox taper can be from 5 to 9 days, depending how much your daily intake of opiates is.


To learn more call us now at: (800) 518-5205.


Currently accepting individuals for medication assisted treatment programs from the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.