A time for specialized services…
Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of overdose deaths from prescription and unlawfully obtained opioids doubled from 21,089 in 2010 to 42,249 in 2016. In 2018, U.S. Surgeon General, Jerome Adams, says “Each day we lose 115 Americans to an opioid overdose – that’s one person every 12.5 minutes.” Sadly, we have not been untouched here by the tragic loss of life within the Harbor House Family due to opioid overdose. In an effort to combat the sharp rise in opioid use, and the unintentional overdose potential within our own community, Harbor House implemented a medication assisted treatment (MAT) program. MAT is the use of medications combined with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders and prevent opioid overdose. MAT is primarily used to treat addiction to opioids such as heroin and prescription pain killers that contain opiates. The medication we utilize is carefully monitored by the prescribing physician and serves to readjust the chemistry in the brain affected by the abused substance. Additionally, it counters the high produced by opioids, reduces cravings and gradually returns the body to a pre-dependent state. The medications we use are approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are administered based on the client’s individual needs.
The goal of MAT is full recovery, which includes the ability to live a self-directed life. Utilization of medication assistance, in concert with therapy, medical and educational services, has been shown to increase the life-span of the addicted individual by producing a more committed effort to abstain from the abused opioid, which in turn, decreases the chances that the individual may seek drugs on the street. Removing the drug seeking behavior and creating a more stable individual improves the ability to find gainful employment, and then to maintain this new way of life. Incorporating these therapies has also shown to reduce relapse potential. According the Surgeon General’s 2016 Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health, substance use disorders can be treated as effectively as treating other chronic disorders, such as diabetes, asthma and hypertension, and that medications can be an effectual tool in arresting and treating significant substance use disorders. We believe that by incorporating these medications into and as part of a broader treatment plan, which includes therapy and Recovery Support Services, a better treatment outcome may be achieved.