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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

 

Medication Assisted Treatment, or "MAT" for short, is the use of FDA approved medication for the treatment of opiate/opioid addiction and substance abuse.  It has never been quite as controversial a subject as it is today.  As more and more abstinence-based programs have become mainstream within inpatient treatment centers, the stigma being attached unnecessarily to MAT is discouraging to very high-risk drug addicts and those who have attempted treatment without medication several times and failed. 

When comunity-based groups such as AA began, there was no regulated MAT approved for widespread use in the US.  It was also back then in the 1930's that the medical community had not yet been able to establish that alcoholism or drug addiction was in fact a medical disease.  That fact came later and is now based in numerous evidence from research foundations & hospitals all over the country.

The fact that we all know addiction IS a disease now seems slightly hypocritical for those who still hold a strong personal bias against the use of MAT for addicts; instead refusing to acknowledge any route for treatment other than spirituality and willpower, solving the disease of addiction.  These efforts may help some people but the numbers clearly over time and especially now show that this is not the case for the majority. 

While ALL supporters and providers of MAT also encourge a multi-treatment approach, knowing medication alone is not the answer, there are those who ignore this and begin to spread a dangerous message to addicts who would benefit greatly from MAT methods, along with support groups, IOP's, individual therapy, group therapy, CBT, and other outpatient behavioral and support services.  The message being spread is almost always by those who have never used MAT or who have and did not follow proper protocol.  Very seldom do you hear positive aspects of MAT from people who were very successful using this method, as millions over several decades have. The danger is that someone who is bias against MAT, having been able to get clean and stay clean via abstinence is outspoken regarding the "negative" possibilities of MAT and almost never discuss or encourge the very positive aspects of MAT for the very severe addicts who need MAT to stabilize their physical dependance and then use that time on treatment to work on their behavioral addiction issues and dual diagnosis treatment such as depression or anxiety. 

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

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Midwestern Mama continues observing the comings and goings of Methadone and Suboxone treatment participants.

Other than the first day my son started the HIOP (high-intensity, out -patient) treatment program, I haven’t returned to the waiting room – at nearly 22 years old, he’s a big boy and doesn’t need Mom to come in with him nor does he want me to.  Now, I wait in the parking lot and let me say it’s no less insightful.

Each morning, we arrive between 7:30 and 8:15 a.m.  There are taxi cabs, medical transportation vans and cars of all models – from luxury vehicles to ready-for-the-junkyard clunkers held together with duct tape (yes, I have actually seen this).  Some people walk from the nearby bus stop while others ride bikes.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

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Midwestern Mama discovers a community of opiate users in recovery -- just miles from her suburban home – as her son begins Suboxone treatment and counseling for Heroin addiction.

Less than five miles from my suburban home is an outpatient treatment center that offers Methodone and Suboxone dosing in addition to individual counseling, group sessions and training.  Although it’s close to where I live, it’s not on a road I ordinarily take and even though I’ve driven that road many times over the 20 plus-years that I’ve lived here, it’s not a structure that I ever noticed.

The past two days, however, changed that.  I have taken notice and I have spent several hours there.  It has been eye opening and I actually look forward to seeing and experiencing more in the days ahead.  As part of my son’s journey with addiction, I have yearned for an insider’s perspective to better understand the complexities of substance use disorder – if not his, that of others. 

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