Little Cities of Hope: Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Facts & Myths

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By Jac’lyn Bera and Cacilia Jensen

While myths are often harmless and sometimes even enjoyable, they can do serious harm when it comes to health and wellness. When we think about recovery and particularly Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) there are many questions and many misunderstandings that can cause harm, but a little bit of knowledge can go a long way and do some good. It’s time to Mythbust MAT!

Myth 1: MAT means that individuals are switching one addiction or drug for another.

Myth Busted: Medication Assisted Treatment, in combination with behavioral health therapies, have the highest outcomes of individuals getting into recovery and staying in recovery. Treatment doses of methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone allow an individual to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings, which adds positive benefits to their lives. People are able to gain and maintain employment, be present for their families, reduce criminal activity and be successful in behavioral health therapy due to MAT.

Myth 2: MAT makes overdose more likely.

Myth Busted: MAT works to prevent overdoses by assisting patients from feeling the harsh effects of withdrawal and creating stabilization via FDA-approved medications with low-risk of misuse. After someone detoxes from substance use, they are most at risk for overdoses due to a decrease in tolerance; MAT helps to stabilize the patient throughout the traditional detox period and dramatically decreases the chance of overdoses.

Myth 3: There is no proof that MAT is better than 100% abstinence.

Myth Busted: Part of what makes MAT so valuable is that it is evidence-based, meaning that it has been tested and measured by scientific research and has been proven to be a highly-recommended form of treatment. Because of its effectiveness, MAT is recommended by organizations such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Myth 4: Only patients with severe substance use receive MAT.

Myth Busted: MAT is a diverse medical technique that provides a variety of options to support patients facing substance use no matter how minimal or severe their substance use is. The goal is always to find the best solution and then tailor that medication to the needs of the patient to support them as they enter recovery.

There are many questions that can come to mind when starting any treatment for our health and wellness, and it is important to ask your primary care providers when you have concerns. For more information and resources, visit www.samhsa.gov or call Operation Recovery at (435) 299-2409.

Join our upcoming Carbon & Emery Opioid & Substance Use Coalition Community Education Event in Green River to learn more from your local community and resources. This webinar event will be hosted online. See the flyer below for more information.

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