MAT (Medication-Assisted Treatment) Programs for Opioid Use Disorder in Lancaster, CaliforniaYou are here:
Trafficking opioids in California is a thriving business, whether it is conducted by drug cartels or individual criminals. Profiting from the drugs, cartels rake in millions of dollars a year, while their victims struggle with the consequences of opioid use disorder. Many of the individuals will need medication-assisted treatment to overcome their substance use.
As a result of the high rate of drug trafficking in California, ERs treat approximately 45 overdose cases each day, and 2,000 Californians die of opioid overdose each year.
According to a study published by the Urban Institute, more than half a million Californians with OUD lack access to treatment. Our mission at Design for Change Recovery in Lancaster, California, is to help reduce these statistics by providing access to effective, affordable MAT programs for those who need treatment for opioid use disorders.
Impact of MAT (Medication-Assisted Treatment) on Recovering from Opioid Use Disorders
Medication-assisted treatment programs play an essential role in treating opioid use disorder. As part of the state’s response to the opioid crisis, the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) is working to expand access to MAT programs in California.
So far, more than 140,000 new California patients with OUD have received medication-assisted treatments.
With MAT programs, injection drug abuse is decreased, thus reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and STDs.
Overall, the impact of MAT on overcoming opioid use disorders cannot be understated. Many individuals who would not have succeeded in maintaining sobriety are now living substance-free lives after receiving MAT.
Obstacles to Medication-Assisted Treatment Programs
Despite the many benefits of MAT programs, several barriers exist that prevent people from receiving this treatment option. For instance, out of 320 hospitals with emergency rooms in California, only 52 offer MAT.
The state faces various obstacles that hinder the acceptance of MAT:
- Federal regulations restrict the number of MAT providers.
- A negative attitude toward the notion of replacing one drug with another.
- Stigmatization of addiction.
Furthermore, MAT is hindered by the reluctance of some doctors to participate. They don’t want to undergo federally mandated training that would allow them to prescribe buprenorphine.
Healthcare officials plan to quadruple the number of MAT-participating hospitals in the coming years. Since 2020, California’s Department of Health Care Services has created 650 new locations that provide MAT but a lot more locations are desperately needed.
Benefits of California MAT Programs
As the opioid crisis continues to take thousands of lives each day, MAT programs can significantly reduce the number of needless deaths. This approach to opioid addiction treatment is strongly endorsed by the American Medical Association and the National Institutes of Health, among other agencies.
The 5 primary benefits of MAT programs are:
- Provides relief from debilitating withdrawal syndrome.
- Reduces the risk of relapse and overdose.
- Curbs or eliminates intense cravings during withdrawal.
- Increases participation in rehab programs.
- Helps people stay on track in early recovery.
Design for Change Recovery offers MAT as part of our integrated treatment plan. As an evidence-based approach to treatment, MAT makes the recovery process easier and safer.
How Does MAT for Opioid Use Disorder Work?
Simply put, MAT medications work by tricking the brain into thinking it is getting an opioid. Individuals taking the medications will not experience an intense “high” produced by opioids, but the individual won’t experience the withdrawal symptoms that would typically occur.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines medication-assisted treatment 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. Research shows that a combination of medication and therapy can successfully treat addiction, and for some people struggling with addiction, MAT can help sustain recovery.”
At Design for Change, we provide a safe, effective MAT process. Our team of credentialed, compassionate staff and medical professionals make sure each client’s needs are met.
Our MAT for detox typically lasts for five to seven days depending on the duration of use, the substance involved, and the individual’s physical health. Detox can be done on an inpatient or outpatient basis, however, the risk of relapse is not as great with inpatient treatment.
Medications Offered by California MAT Programs
Currently, the FDA has approved three drugs for use in California MAT programs. These drugs are used specifically for treating opioid use disorder:
- Methadone is a clinic-based opioid agonist that attaches to the mu receptors in the brain without causing euphoria. The effects of methadone last longer than those produced by opioids. It reduces cravings thus reducing relapse rates. The use of methadone, however, must be monitored medically due to its addictive nature.
- Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist meaning it activates opioid receptors in the brain. It helps reduce cravings and withdrawals and does not produce euphoria. It also blocks other narcotics and is commonly prescribed and monitored in a clinical setting.
- Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist meaning it blocks the activation of the brain’s opioid receptors. It prevents any opioid from producing euphoria. Side effects occur if the individual uses opioids while being treated with naltrexone.
Each medication has been proven to be a safe and effective treatment option when used in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies. Studies show that about 90% of MAT patients had maintained sobriety at the two-year mark.
California MAT programs are supervised by licensed professionals and can be done on an outpatient basis. In most cases, patients are required to participate in regularly scheduled counseling in addition to the clinic visits.
Possible Disadvantages of Medication-Assisted Treatment
Like any medical treatment, MAT programs may present some drawbacks that must be considered before choosing this treatment approach. Although many addiction specialists prefer MAT programs for opioid addiction treatment, there are some disadvantages, such as:
- Close medical supervision at a certified facility is required.
- The medications may have uncomfortable side effects.
- Some of the medications have a potential for misuse or abuse.
- The possibility of trading one addiction for another.
Of course, some people are not willing to take medication for their opioid use disorder. They may view it as a sign of weakness and fear the potential for becoming addicted to the medication. The cost of the medications can also be a concern as some insurance companies won’t cover the costs.
Despite the above concerns, medical supervision during treatment reduces the risks significantly.
California Opioid Addiction Treatment at Design for Change Recovery
Finding the right California addiction treatment program is crucial to achieving lasting recovery. After reviewing the above information you decide that a MAT program is the best option for your needs, your next step is to talk with one of our specially trained representatives. We will provide a confidential assessment of your situation and recommend a customized treatment plan based on the information you provide.
At Design for Change Recovery in picturesque Lancaster, CA, we offer a whole-patient approach to treatment designed to meet your specific needs and preferences. Our program integrates a range of options that focus on healing the emotional, physical, and mental aspects of addiction. With this comprehensive approach, we help clients identify the underlying reasons for their addiction and acquire the skills necessary to live a sober life.
Fighting opioid addiction isn’t easy, but at Design for Change, you’ll have a team of skilled, compassionate supporters to help you prevail. We provide a safe, comforting, distraction-free environment where you can focus on reaching your recovery goals.
Our unique approach to addiction treatment includes cognitive therapies, group and individual counseling, holistic therapies, outdoor activities, nutritional guidance, and more. Each component is designed to help clients achieve specific goals that promote substance-free living.
If you would like to know more about our programs, reach out to us by phone, email, or online today. We will verify your insurance and help you create a customized treatment plan for your unique needs.
- samhsa.gov/ – Medications, Counseling, and Related Conditions: Medications for Substance Use Disorders
- ama-assn.org/ – Medication-Assisted Treatment Training to Fight Substance Abuse
- chcf.org/ – Ending the Opioid Epidemic in California
- urban.org/ – California Opioid Use Disorder and Treatment Needs
- californiamat.org/ – The California MAT Expansion Project