Medication Assisted Therapy to Tread Opioid Use Disorder

Opioid overdoses cause one death every 20 minutes! Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)—a combination of psychosocial therapy and FDA approved medication—is the most effective intervention to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) and is more effective than either behavioral interventions or medication alone.

MAT significantly reduces illicit opioid use compared with abstinence approaches, and increased access to these therapies can reduce overdose fatalities. Our clinic is the only private practice, outpatient clinic in the Big Country offering MAT treatment for opioid addiction!

The CDC Reports that:

  • Young adult’s heroin use more than doubled in the past decade.
  • More than 90 percent of people who use heroin also use at least one other drug.
  • 45 percent of people who use heroin are also addicted to prescription opioid painkillers.
  • Prescription opioid drug overdoses increased threefold in three years.

OUD is a chronic brain disease caused by the recurrent use of opioids, including prescription drugs, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, and illicit substances such as heroin. In our clinic, we treat OUD as a chronic medical condition, just like diabetes, migraines, chronic kidney disease and every other chronic medical condition. Our goal is to provide an environment of safety and acceptance for our patients to help teach and guide them along their unique path to recovery. OUD includes dysfunction of the brain reward system, motivation, memory, and related circuitry. As with other chronic relapsing conditions, the clinical course of OUD includes periods of exacerbation and remission, but the patient is never disease-free. However, all patients can have hope for living opioid free, which is the goal in our clinic. A common misconception associated with MAT is that it substitutes one addictive drug for another. Instead, these medications relieve the withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings that cause chemical imbalances in the body. Absence of withdrawal and cravings signal that the person is ready to begin gradually lowering their dose. We coach this technique in our clinic, at each individual’s personal pace. MAT programs provide a safe and controlled level of medication to overcome the use of an abused opioid. And 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.

Medications used in MAT for opioid treatment can only be dispensed through a SAMHSA-certified provider; we have multiple providers in our clinic. Some of the medications used in MAT are controlled substances due to their potential for misuse.

We are excited to announce that our clinic is the first and only medical office in the Big Country to provide a MARA (Medical Assisted Recovery Anonymous) meeting weekly in our large and comfortable conference room! We meet every Friday from 12-1 and are led by a peer recovery coach from ARCADA (Abilene Regional Council for Alcohol and Drug Abuse). Patients in our clinic are required to attend at least 2 12 step or counselling meetings each month, so this can be a convenient and efficient way for you to get your monthly medication refill and attend a meeting. However, every MARA meeting is open to everyone who struggles with any dependency or addictive behavior of any kind. If you suspect, or know that you suffer from Opioid Use disorder, please make an appointment with us for further evaluation, or come to the MARA meeting on Fridays and let us know you want help. If you have a loved one or friend struggling with opioid use, please encourage them to call us or come with them to the meeting and we will offer all the assistance we have available.

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