“I sat around for too long watching my family members die from opioid addiction. I shielded my son from that life, and to watch him fall into the trap was too much. I put him in treatment centers, and the moment I ask doctors about MAT, it’s like a political debate. Why is something so simple a debate?” “My kid is sick. You can’t expect him to want to go to a residential center after the hell he went through in detox. For 7 days, there was no medication and nothing to stop the cravings. At the end of the detox, I still have a sick kid begging for drugs because he doesn’t have anything to control his cravings. What good does that do for anyone? My kid can’t be another statistic.” Thirty-eight people die every day from opioid misuse in America. In 2020, there were 2,103 overdose deaths in Massachusetts. As the opioid crisis grows worse, mothers want to know why we aren’t taking advantage of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) protocols. Treatment centers don’t take advantage of MAT enough because they don’t believe it works. That logic is not correct. With consistent treatment in small doses, MAT actually works. Finding a treatment center that offers a MAT protocol within their residential program changes the outcomes for patients. Every treatment option doesn’t work for every person, and that’s the beauty of individualized care.
Who Needs MAT?
MAT is for any person who wants to moderate their drug misuse or find long-lasting recovery. Most moms have tried everything possible to find the best treatment for their child without ever considering MAT as an option. Traditionally, MAT has only been offered in clinics that allow a person to come in for treatment and then leave. Moms want a secure setting for their child to get better, like a residential rehab program. That option is now available. MAT is best undertaken by residential treatment programs under the supervision of health professionals who can monitor withdrawal symptoms and reactions to medications. Medications like methadone can only be given in a clinical setting and cannot be prescribed for the patient to take home. Treatment centers need to be offering a MAT protocol to ensure they are using the best evidence-based methods to save lives. According to the Journal of Substance Use Treatment, abstinence-based treatment centers have a 43.7% relapse rate, while treatment centers that offer MAT protocols have a 20.7% relapse rate.
How Does MAT Benefit Patients in a Residential Treatment Program?
MAT is considered one of the premier approaches for treating opioid addiction because it closely monitors patient progress; causes a considerable reduction in risk factors for illicit use, overdose, and death; and offers sustainable treatment methods. Swift River understands this, which is why we offer a MAT protocol option during residential treatment. While we do offer a MAT protocol during residential programming, we are not a MAT clinic. After a client has completed our residential program, as part of their aftercare plan, we can refer them to a local clinic or doctor that can continue their treatment. According to the Partnership to End Addiction, 80% of people who suffer from opioid misuse never seek treatment. Deciding if a treatment like MAT is the right course is personal, but MAT is a proven approach leading to recovery.
How Does the Brain Function Before MAT?
As a person continues to take drugs, the brain becomes clouded with chemicals that now attack the brain’s reward system. This means habits that are not healthy are now positive because they’re associated with a good feeling. Over time, the body builds up a tolerance, and a person will then take higher doses to attain the same feeling. Furthermore, the brain’s ability to resist tempting situations lessens over time. Normal behaviors like going for walks or enjoying a meal with friends aren’t as enjoyable.
How Can Swift River Help?
At Swift River, we have a MAT protocol integrated into our residential program, which includes naltrexone and Suboxone. Simply detoxing without any assistance is the easiest way to fast-track a person to relapse. We don’t want anyone who walks through our doors to walk out worse than when they arrived. In Massachusetts, it’s difficult to find a program like ours that integrates a MAT protocol designed to ease cravings. We are not a MAT clinic, but we will offer a life-saving treatment during our 30-day residential program. Once residential treatment is finished, we refer our clients to a clinic that can continue their care. To find a treatment experience with evidence-based methods, call us today at (844) 441-0302.