Medication assisted treatment is option for opioid use disorder

December 12, 2017 by Olivia Ramirez, University of Kentucky

Of the 20.5 million Americans 12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2015, two million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers and 591,000 had a substance use disorder involving heroin, according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine. That's over 2.5 million Americans who are in need of assistance treating opioid use disorder.

One evidence-based treatment option available is medication assisted treatment (MAT). Like the word assisted in the name suggests, MAT is meant to be provided in conjunction with counseling and other services that aid patients in reducing some of the stressors that can lead to active addiction. Programs like PATHways in the University of Kentucky College of Nursing are an example of that. In addition to MAT the program offers counseling, peer support and other .

The type of medication commonly used for opioid use disorder is called buprenorphine. It is provided to patients at intervals that are determined by their doctor. The medication can be delivered as a film placed under the tongue or a pill but research is being conducted to find alternative delivery routes such as implants or injections.

In order to provide MAT, there are several requirements a physician must meet; those requirements are set by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). First, the prescriber must be licensed under state law, they must register with the DEA and complete training and/or certification. Providers must all be able to refer patients to counseling or other services. There are also restrictions on how many patients a doctor can treat using MAT, during the first year of securing the DEA waiver, providers can treat up to 30 patients, after the first year they can apply to treat up to 100 patients and after the second year they can apply to treat up to 275 patients.

The has impacted every corner of the United States, especially rural communities that have difficulty accessing medical care, but there are options available for helping those in active addiction enter recovery.

Explore further: Who should treat patients with opioid use disorder?

Related Stories

Who should treat patients with opioid use disorder?

July 11, 2017
In a Point/Counterpoint, two doctors debate whether or not family physicians should provide medication-assisted treatment to their patients with opioid use disorder.

Why are doctors underusing a drug to treat opioid addiction?

August 3, 2017
A drug approved for private physicians to treat opioid addiction is being underprescribed, and a survey of addiction specialists suggests that many of them are not willing to increase their use of it, despite an expanding ...

More access to opioid treatment programs needed in Southeast, says study

March 30, 2017
In 2015, more than 30,000 Americans died from overdosing on opioids, and a new study led by the University of Georgia shows that one of the hardest hit populations-low-income Americans on Medicaid-isn't getting the help it ...

New hope for waitlisted patients addicted to opioids

December 6, 2017
As the opioid crisis continues to escalate, the number of people who need treatment for their dependency on heroin or prescription pain killers far exceeds the capacity of available treatment programs. People seeking treatment ...

Opioid abuse down in younger americans, but up among older adults

July 26, 2017
(HealthDay)—While opioid abuse has fallen among younger Americans, the same cannot be said for older adults, a new government report shows.

Medication-assisted treatment underused in teen opioid addicts

August 24, 2016
(HealthDay)—Resources should be increased to promote use of medication-assisted treatment of opioid addicted adolescents and young adults, according to a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published ...

Recommended for you

Researchers publish study on new therapy to treat opioid use disorder

May 22, 2018
Better delivery of medications to treat opioid use disorder (OUD) is key to addressing the opioid crisis and helping the 2.6 million Americans affected by the disease.

Could nonprofit drug companies cut sky-high prices?

May 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Generic prescription drugs should be cheap, but prices for some have soared in the United States in recent years. Now a group of U.S. hospitals thinks it has a solution: a nonprofit drug maker.

Fewer antibiotics for kids, but more ADHD drugs

May 15, 2018
(HealthDay)—American kids are taking fewer prescription medications these days—but certain drugs are being prescribed more than ever, a new government study finds.

Opioid makers' perks to docs tied to more prescriptions

May 14, 2018
Doctors who accept perks from companies that make opioid painkillers are more likely to prescribe the drugs for their patients, new research suggests.

Less is more when it comes to prescription opioids for hospital patients, study finds

May 14, 2018
In a pilot study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Yale researchers significantly reduced doses of opioid painkillers given to hospital patients. By delivering the opioids with a shot under the skin or with a pill instead ...

Generic options provide limited savings for expensive drugs

May 7, 2018
Generic drug options did not reduce prices paid for the cancer therapy imatinib (Gleevec), according to a Health Affairs study released today in its May issue.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.