Medically Assisted Treatment

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.” It is the preferred treatment method for opiate addiction, in particular heroin and pain relievers that contain opiates.


Drugs Used in Medically Assisted Treatment Programs

Medically Assisted Treatment programs treating opioid and alcohol addiction with FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) approved medications. These include Methadone and Buprenorphine. These medications relieve withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings experienced during and after detox. Recently, the FDA announced its plans to expand access to Medically Assisted Treatments in order to fight the growing opioid epidemic. 



Methadone treatment is commonly used to help heroin addicts detoxify because it produces similar effects to heroin. This is a long-lasting synthetic opiate pain reliever. It acts on the opioid receptors in the brain much like morphine or heroin, but it is chemically different. Methadone detox involves supplying heroin users with a daily dosage of methadone to suppress heroin cravings and withdrawal symptoms.


Use of Methadone to treat heroin addiction, however, has become controversial in recent years. Methadone use causes as much of a physical dependence on heroin use. Detoxing from Methadone is as difficult if not more difficult than detoxing from heroin. Methadone withdrawal symptoms are similar to heroin withdrawal symptoms and in many cases, they are more severe. Additionally, Methadone overdose is a real danger and can be fatal. In fact, Methadone has become the fastest growing cause of drug deaths in the country.


Buprenorphine-Based Drugs the Safer Option

Buprenorphine-based drugs such as Suboxone and Subutex are a far safer option for treating opioid addiction. With Buprenorphine, the euphoria obtained is much less significant, and withdrawal symptoms are much less severe. Consequently, Buprenorphine addiction is less likely than Methadone addiction. When combined with counseling, use of Buprenorphine for heroin addiction has a better long-term prognosis for a long-term drug-free living than Methadone.


D’Amore Healthcare provides both non-medical and medically assisted treatment (using Suboxone, Subutex, and Buprenorphine when appropriate) and primary residential treatment. We are a dual diagnosis and substance abuse addiction treatment center in Orange County, CA. We provide information and treatment for people dealing with the life-shattering cycle of substance abuse and addiction. If someone needs immediate help, call 24-hours a day at 714.375.1110 or contact us online.

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