Medication assisted treatment MAT are available from drug rehabs in Laconia, New Hampshire to Boston, Massachusetts. The fact is medication assisted treatment saves lives and needs to be understood. There are many misconceptions of this addiction treatment rehabilitation option. We see it every day on social media.
The public is circulating incorrect information. This mainly because they are only basing it on their personal experience. Government agencies have done in depth studies on the subject and the answers may surprise you. However, everyone needs to know that medication assisted treatment options must be carefully examined by a qualified Doctor.
The United States has been experiencing a heroin and opiate epidemic. We are losing about 150 lives per day, and Covid-19 is surely adding to the numbers. This is and has been a very serious problem for us. Unfortunately, during this time relapse has become even more serious. The introduction of Fentanyl means one more use could cause death.
Deaths from Opiate Epidemic Fueling Medication Assisted Treatment MAT Options
CNN released an article that had some disturbing information and statistics. The next time you or a loved one has a drug problem remember the information from this article. There has been a huge increase in deaths from 1999 to 2014. In fact, opiate related deaths has increased an alarming 439%! Even further, here is more information on heroin deaths.
- Death rates have increased 3 times in the last 5 years.
- In the last 10 years death rates have increased four times.
- Opioids in 2014 have been associated with almost 29,000 deaths.
- Opiates were involved with 61% of all drug related deaths.
This alarming information shows two related trends that have a direct correlation. The CDC has stated that there is an increase in deaths from long-term prescription drug use. This is a direct correlation with the increase in opiate overdoses. At Riverbank House men’s inpatient drug rehabs Boston substance abuse rehabilitation facility, a majority of our clients are addicted to heroin. We understand these disturbing statistics and have put the best in place to fight the heroin epidemic.
Two Models of Addiction Fueling Substance Abuse
There are two prevailing “thought models” which attempt to explain the pathophysiology behind addiction. Below we will explain these and their role in our society. We have made great strides in recent years, however there is much to be done.
- Moral Model of Addiction
The moral model which unfortunately is the general public’s view. This is the case for several reasons however for the most part it is due to lack of evidence-based education. This model assumes addiction is completely a choice. Followed by poor moral decision making. It blames the individual’s morals and values. This is the biggest reason there is such a huge stigma on individuals with drug and alcohol addiction issues.
- Disease Model of Addiction
Addiction is a complicated disease and a behavioral health problem. This is where the disease model of addiction comes in. ASAM (the American Society of Addiction Medicine) recently defined the disease model. They define it as a primary chronic disease affecting the brains reward system. More specifically it affects the following;
- related circuitry
- alters healthy pathways in brain
From 2014-2017 the heroin epidemic had the attention of US Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy. He stated that addiction is “a chronic illness that we must approach with the same skill and compassion with which we approach heart disease, diabetes, and cancer”.
What is Medication Assisted Treatment MAT?
Medication assisted treatment or MAT is the use of prescribed prescription drugs to ease pain from addiction or used as a bridge to stop the use of illicit drugs. There is controversy on the use of medication assisted treatment even in the addiction recovery community. There are also conflicts with alcoholics anonymous which many people have been using for years to fight addiction.
Around 2017 the surge started for MAT. This was when President Obama’s 2017 budget included $1.1 billion to support access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorders. This did not happen because a few people thought there was a problem. The statistics and studies clearly showed a national intervention was needed to stop the heroin epidemic. Many studies have shown that medication assisted treatment help save lives by preventing overdoses.
Why Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Education is Needed?
Medication assisted treatment (MAT) is here to stay. Our drug rehabs Laconia, New Hampshire staff understand this form of substance abuse rehabilitation is not for everyone, it is saving lives. There must be careful diagnosis, by a qualified physician and a detailed treatment plan. This drug and alcohol addiction treatment plans is a road map to eventually be completely drug free.
Addiction professionals must accept that is a viable plan for some with substance abuse issues. We need to look at it like we view other chronic diseases. There needs to be a combination of things going on at the same time. This consists of behavioral adjustments and modifications. For instance, we don’t tell individuals with diabetes to stop using insulin and just 100 pounds and it will go away.
We also do not treat individuals with emphysema and say just stop smoking, stop the use of inhalers and your lungs will clear and you’ll breathe normal again. We all can admit that insulin and inhalers are not crutches. They are part of an evidence-based treatment plan that we know works. This is not unlike MAT or medication assisted treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.
With all that said a question is posed. If medication assisted treatment is medically acceptable and even more appropriate to treat addiction and save lives, why is there such a big stigma? We are in the middle of a heroin epidemic with a limited number of tools to save lives. The general public, government and medical community need to reduce this stigma. While medication assisted treatment or MAT is not the answer for all, it can help many and save lives.
Medication assisted treatment must not be used as a cookie cutter treatment or as a crutch. This article cannot possibly cover the entire subject; however we will be covering it in future articles on our website. It must be understood that MAT should be used in the following ways.
- ASAM outlines
- with a followed treatment plan
If you follow the research and science by nations addiction authority (ASAM), the surgeon general, President Obama, and addiction medicine physicians in the trenches you will understand the importance of MAT. While the recovery community has come forward there are still some that refuse to change. To reduce the stigma and save lives the addiction treatment community needs to come together.
What is Going on at Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Centers?
Our Boston drug rehabs for addiction treatment help treat 1000’s of individual suffering from addiction. The reality is there is only a certain percentage of individuals addicted to heroin that can achieve abstinence. What is the answer for the ones that cannot achieve total abstinence? The answer is not abstinence or die, that is for sure. There are tools experienced physicians have that utilize medication assisted treatments and harm reduction.
Individuals are using these and functioning well at work. They are repairing family and personal relationships. They are getting away from a life of crime. They are adding years to their lives. So, if all this can happen, “What is wrong with that?”
Why Does Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Save Lives?
Medication assisted treatment (MAT) saves lives because it reduces overdoses. The opioid epidemic is out of control in the United States. Drug and alcohol addiction treatment centers simply do not have enough time to help many individuals. The insurance companies are a major factor. Some will only pay for 10-12 days of a 30-day impatient stay. They are paying very little for intensive outpatient IOP drug rehabs. Traditional 12-step, “abstinence-based” programs are not for everyone. There needs to be more options.
The big picture unfortunately is grim because one more use of heroin could be your last. The heroin epidemic if it can be said is more deadly because of the increases n overdose deaths. One lapse in judgment for a heroin uses might mean their last breathe. This is because individuals do not know what is in the heroin. The potent heroin of today is unlike the heroin of yesterday. There are unknown mixtures in a “bag” or “cap,” namely fentanyl and carfentanil. A past common relapse is not necessarily an invitation to get a do over. It is more like a deadly game of Russian roulette.
Harm Reduction and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Can Save Lives
Harm reduction and medication assisted treatment (MAT) are tools for physicians. Used correctly they can and will save lives. However, for some the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. These are the individuals and professionals that need to get better educated. Again, medication assisted treatment (MAT) is not for everyone. However, it needs to be used when necessary. For some embracing these will save their lives.
If you are struggling with drug and alcohol abuse it is time to reach out for help. Waiting or not reaching out could cost you or a loved one their life. There is help available. Long-term recovery is within your grasp. We see it every day with our clients. Call our drug rehabs Boston addiction treatment centers now at 603-505-7912. We can help you get your life back under control.