Myths about MAT
Challenging the Myths about Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD).
MAT just trades one addiction for another.
MAT bridges the biological and behavioral components of addiction. Research indicates that a combination of medication and behavioral therapies can successfully treat SUDs and help sustain recovery.
MAT is only for the short term.
Research shows that patients on MAT for at least 1-2 years have the greatest rates of long-term success. There is currently no evidence to support benefits from stopping MAT.
My patient’s condition is not severe enough to require MAT.
MAT utilizes a multitude of different medication options (agonists, partial agonists and antagonists) that can be tailored to fit the unique needs of the patient.
MAT increases the risk for overdose in patients.
MAT helps to prevent overdoses from occurring. Even a single use of opioids after detoxification can result in a life-threatening or fatal overdose. Following detoxification, tolerance to the euphoria brought on by opioid use remains higher than tolerance to respiratory depression.
Providing MAT will only disrupt and hinder a patient’s recovery process.
MAT has been shown to assist patients in recovery by improving quality of life, level of functioning and the ability to handle stress. Above all, MAT helps reduce mortality while patients begin recovery.
There isn’t any proof that MAT is better than abstinence.
MAT is evidence-based and is the recommended course of treatment for opioid addiction. American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, American Medical Association, The National Institute on Drug Abuse, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other agencies emphasize MAT as first line treatment.
Most insurance plans don’t cover MAT.
All state Medicaid programs cover at least one MAT medication and most cover all three (methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone). In addition, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) of 2008 requires health insurers and group health plans to provide the same level of benefits for mental and/or substance use treatment and services that they do for medical/surgical care.