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Medication-Assisted Treatment in Massachusetts

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Medication-Assisted Treatment in Massachusetts

Overcoming addiction is difficult and can be incredibly complex. Attempting to stop using drugs or alcohol without treatment can become part of a vicious cycle that can strengthen the severity of the addiction. With the help of a professional treatment program, individuals can break free from the toxicity of addiction and live healthier, fulfilling lives.

Swift River offers medication-assisted treatment in Massachusetts (MAT) as part of the quality substance use treatment provided in Cummington, Massachusetts. This effective treatment allows adult women and men to manage cravings, compulsions, and withdrawal of substance use and addiction.

Call 888.451.5895 today to learn more about our medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and addiction treatment programs in Massachusetts.

The first step in your journey to starting substance use disorder treatment is detoxing from the harmful substance you were addicted to. Our physician-supervised staff will stand by you through this trying time, 24/7, offering you compassionate support so that you progress through detox as comfortably and as safely as possible. Our clinicians will also aid you in fighting off the cravings that can threaten your pursuit of a drug-free life. Detox not only places a burden on your body and brain but on your emotional and mental standing as well; our staff will continuously monitor these states.

At times, you may feel very overwhelmed, or experience anxiety, which is one reason why seeking a medically-supervised treatment is so essential. In addition to providing medical support, we have counselors standing by that can offer you distractions, provide you with companionship during this daunting time, and address any worries you might have, while in turn, preparing you for the next step. We aim to make this process as painless as possible by providing as much support as possible at our detox facility. Our compassionate medical professionals will be with you every step of the way.

Sometimes, in more severe instances, and specifically with drugs like opioids and alcohol, certain medications may be used to help you better transition through the withdrawal period. 

What Is A Medication Assisted Treatment Program?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines medication-assisted treatment (MAT) as the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.1

In 2018, an estimated 2 million people had an opioid use disorder which included prescription pain medications and heroin. The clinical effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) has been proven and can significantly decrease the need for detoxification services for specific individuals facing issues with opioid addiction.

Medications prescribed during MAT programs work to normalize brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions.

The primary purpose of MAT programs is to create an individually-tailored treatment plan composed of both medication and behavioral therapy. The more comprehensive this plan with regard to the circumstances of a person’s addiction, the more likely the program is to succeed.

Our medication-assisted treatment program at Swift River offers an Ativan tapering method for alcohol addiction and Suboxone, Vivitrol, and methadone for opioid addiction.

Addressing The Stigma Of Taking a Drug to Aid in Detox And Recovery

What is most unfortunate is that many people still adhere to the false and hazardous notion that using medication during treatment is wrong, weak, or dangerous. This all too frequent misconception can make detox more severe and intolerable and could result in someone relapsing as the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms drive them back to substance use.

Using medication to overcome an addiction does not make you weak. Instead, you are extremely strong as you face your addiction head-on and make the wisest and most responsible decision possible.

Appropriately used, under the guidance and expert direction of the trained professionals employed at Swift River, these medications may mean the difference between your success–or a continued life of drug use. 

Ativan Tapering

Alcohol dependence and addiction result in significant brain changes. When a person stops drinking alcohol, the nervous system becomes hyperactive, possibly resulting in painful withdrawal, seizures, and even death.

Introducing Ativan during alcohol withdrawal prevents the nervous system from becoming hyperactive, stopping withdrawal symptoms before they get out of hand.

Ativan is in a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, often referred to as “benzos.” These drugs are commonly used to treat alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. They are typically administered in tablet form but are sometimes injected in liquid form.

During the early periods of treatment, a relatively high dose of Ativan may help curb withdrawal symptoms and reduce the craving to drink. Gradually, the amount of Ativan is reduced using a method referred to as tapering. This gradual reduction allows a person to shift from having an alcohol-dependent brain to a brain in recovery without intense withdrawal.

Some of the alcohol withdrawal symptoms that Ativan can help reduce and treat include: 

Suboxone Treatment

Suboxone is a sublingual film (dissolves under the tongue) that contains buprenorphine and naloxone, two medications approved for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD).

Suboxone is intended to offer relief from opioid withdrawal for individuals attempting to stop abusing opioids. The two medications combined work to treat the symptoms and prevent misuse of this MAT medication.

Below are some frequently asked questions concerning Suboxone Treatment:

Suboxone is generally administered once every 24 hours. Once ingested, Suboxone generally takes effect after about 3-4 hours and can relieve symptoms for up to 3 days, depending on several factors. The length of time to fully take effect can depend on a person’s weight, metabolic rate, and history of drug use. The amount of time it takes to metabolize Suboxone can be affected by an abnormally functioning liver as well. After ceasing Suboxone treatment, it can take up to 5 days for the effects of withdrawal to be felt.

Suboxone’s effects of blocking opioid receptors generally last for about 24 hours. This, of course, will vary from person to person, depending on metabolic rate and drug use history. Generally speaking, opioids will be rendered ineffective if ingested within a day of Suboxone treatment. There are cases where Suboxone causes a near-permanent blocking of opioid receptors, although this is an infrequent circumstance.

Just like our approach to every patient’s treatment, Suboxone treatment length is completely individualized. There is no standard timeframe for Suboxone treatment. Some patients may benefit from Suboxone treatment for a month, and others may use it for a year or more. This is why it is so important to receive treatment from respected and accredited treatment facilities such as Swift River. 

Just like our approach to every patient’s treatment, Suboxone treatment length is completely individualized. There is no standard timeframe for Suboxone treatment. Some patients may benefit from Suboxone treatment for a month, and others may use it for a year or more. This is why it is so important to receive treatment from respected and accredited treatment facilities such as Swift River. 

Vivitrol (naltrexone) Treatment

Vivitrol, the brand name for injectable naltrexone, is also a medication that can treat opioid addiction, but it works differently than Suboxone. Vivitrol is not an opioid and acts as a full opioid antagonist. Antagonists create a barrier that blocks opioid molecules from attaching to opioid receptors but does not cause dopamine release. They are non-addictive and do not lead to physical dependence.

A person will need to fully detox from opioids before starting a Vivitrol treatment regimen. This is why it is essential to participate in a substance use treatment program that offers medically supervised detox and recovery treatment services.

Swift River offers a MAT program in Massachusetts as part of the intensive inpatient substance use treatment program.

Vivitrol is a relatively new treatment option, so we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding its use in MAT. 

After a patient has undergone medically-supervised detoxification at our facility, Vivitrol treatment can begin. A person’s body must be completely clear of opioids before starting treatment. The opioid receptor-blocking effects of Vivitrol typically last about 30 days, so the drug must only be administered once a month.  

Vivitrol has been proven safe and effective for both short-term and long-term use. This aids in the individualized nature of treatment at Swift River because the drug can be used for as long as needed to meet the individual’s treatment goals. Most medical professionals recommend that Vivitrol treatment be used for at least a year. 


Swift River has recently started using methadone as a treatment option for opioid addiction.

Methadone is a long-acting, full agonist opioid. This means that it completely blocks the receptors that respond to opioids, like heroin or Vicodin. Methadone reduces opioid cravings, decreases withdrawal symptoms, and also blocks the effects of other opioids.

Even if a person taking methadone decides to use another opioid, the opioid will not have the usual full effect. In this way, methadone reduces the potential for further opioid use.

As with the MAT-approved drugs outlined above, methadone treatment can be complex. Below is a list of frequently asked questions:

Because methadone fills the same opioid receptors as heroin or prescription opioid drugs, it can drastically reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It is often used during the medical detoxification process because of this. When the craving for unhealthy opioid use is removed, the patient can fully focus on establishing a solid foundation for recovery without the constant threat of intense cravings or relapse.

Methadone is considered a controlled substance, and there is potential for addiction and use. At Swift River, our skilled and compassionate healthcare professionals will always carefully monitor methadone administration. When used as directed, methadone does not provide any sense of a high for the user.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to opioid addiction. That’s why Swift River’s individualized approach to substance use disorder treatment is so effective. Some of our patients are prescribed methadone for short-term relief, while others benefit from using the drug long-term to curb opioid cravings. Our team of medical professionals will work with you to determine the length of time that methadone will benefit your recovery.

Methadone, Vivitrol, and Suboxone are all FDA-approved medications to treat opioid use disorders. When taken as prescribed and used in tandem with comprehensive, intensive substance use treatment, sobriety is achievable. 

Find Residential Treatment and Medication-Assisted Treatment Programs in Massachusetts at Swift River

MAT programs are combined with therapeutic interventions at Swift River during a 30- or 60-day intensive treatment program. Integrated medication-assisted treatment allows for the following benefits:

Swift River provides a medically supervised detox that provides 24-hour access to medical professionals. This stage aims to manage withdrawal symptoms while providing support and stabilization measures, including MAT options. After the detoxification stage, our patients are transferred to our Residential Treatment Program.

Residential treatment is a type of treatment program that involves living on-site within an addiction treatment facility to participate in a formal schedule of individual and group-based treatment services. We aim to remove the patient from a situation of possible crisis and get them into an environment of compassionate care.

At Swift River, each patient’s residential program schedule is individually tailored to best suit their needs and goals for addiction treatment. At Swift River, our residential program lasts approximately 30 to 60 days, with the last ten days dedicated to a seamless transition into outpatient treatment.

Call 888.451.5895 to schedule an assessment or obtain more information.

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