Prescription Drug Abuse: It Happens More Than You Think

Medically Assisted Treatment – A Good or a Bad Solution?

There’s no doubt that the United States is in the midst of a huge epidemic. The overdose deaths have been increasing in the last years and we just need to do something to fight the problem. We need to be able to help drug addicts so we can prevent these deaths to happen.

Many things have been done for years however, the problem is not only there as it became bigger.

Ultimately, experts have been talking about another possible solution for this major problem: the medically assisted treatment (MAT).

Until now, addiction treatment centers combine counseling with prescribed drugs like suboxone and methadone to help opioid addicts to deal with the withdrawal symptoms. However, these prescribed drugs don’t help everyone. Some people who try to use them just can’t handle the side effects and for others, they don’t simply work.

So, some specialists are defending the possibility of prescribing heroin,
medical-grade diacetylmorphine hydrochloride, the active compound in heroin to be more precise. Some European countries such as Switzerland, Denmark, and the Netherlands have already started using this method with some success.

Drug and alcohol abuse numbers keep rising and this is why MAT is once again, under discussion.

People who are in favor for Medically Assisted Treatment say there are a lot of pros:

  • Since people are different, they don’t all react the same way to a prescribed drug. So, having different drug options to help people recover should be considered.
  • Joining addiction rehabilitation programs will provide drug addicts different ways to treat addiction. They will not only have access to the prescribed drugs as well as they’ll have therapy for substance abuse, which will allow them through the entire process.
  • According to many studies, MAT is not only an effective way to help people as it’s cost effective.

Medically Assisted Treatment

However, others disagree and tend to point out to the cons:

  • There is a possibility of people abusing the substances. If the MAT doesn’t imply to be in a center for some time but instead, people would just go there to take their medication, they can still access other drugs on the street. So, this wouldn’t prevent overdose deaths from happening.
  • Most patients would look at MAT only as a way to replace the drug. However, MAT needs include therapy so patients can start focusing on different aspects of their lives.
  • When it comes to giving prescribed heroin, the regulations still forbid it. So severe changes in the law are mandatory.

Overall, MAT has been able to show good results as long as the treatment is held by a physician. The most common thought that crosses people’s minds when they heard about Medically Assisted Treatment is that patients are just replacing one drug for another. And that they can get any drugs they want out of the scope of the program. So, they would be paying (through their taxes) for people to get more drugs instead of less.

Despite this is the most common idea yet, mentalities are beginning to change. And the results that MAT has been achieving demonstrate it clearly

About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.

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