Addiction is a challenging disease to overcome. At Tri-County Health Care, you are not alone in this battle. Our multidisciplinary team approach combines the use of medications with counseling and behavioral therapies to help treat opioid dependency.
About Opioid Dependency
When people develop a dependency on opioids, they become sick when fewer or no opioids are in the body. This sickness is known as withdrawal. Along with intense cravings, withdrawal is a hallmark of opioid addiction and can make recovery especially difficult. Opioids include prescription pain medications like Codeine, Oxycodone (Percocet, Oxycontin), Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco or Lorcet) and Morphine (MS Contin). Opioids also include illicit drugs such as heroin and fentanyl. By helping to reduce cravings and withdrawal, medication-assisted treatment can help the brain heal. This healing allows the person to focus on returning to their activities, responsibilities and relationships in healthier ways, without opioids getting in the way.
What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to help treat opioid use disorder. Research has shown that the use of medications, when combined with counseling and social support, are the most effective means of treating opioid use disorders and maintaining long-term recovery.
Approved medications for treating opioid use disorder are Buprenorphine/Naloxone (Suboxone, Subutex, Zubsolv) and/or Naltrexone (Vivitrol). These medications may help reduce cravings and help prevent withdrawal symptoms and are available in a variety of forms, including dissolving tablets, films and injections.
How Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Work?
Buprenorphine must be used carefully. A provider will first prescribe a low dose to start taking after withdrawal symptoms begin. Early in the program, dosage levels may be adjusted as needed at daily or weekly visits with a suboxone provider. When a maintenance dose is reached, visits with a suboxone provider will occur monthly or as needed. Buprenorphine may be taken for days, months, or years—if it is needed to prevent relapse. Once stable and in recovery, buprenorphine dosage may be lowered or eliminated but must be done slowly and over time. This process is called tapering. Tapering works best with the help of a primary care or substance abuse treatment provider after progress has been made.
Multidisciplinary Team Approach
Mental Health Providers
Primary Care Providers
Registered Nurse to help with coordination of care
Local NA and AA groups
Personal Support Group, such as family and friends
Benefits of Medication-Assisted Treatment
The goal of Medication-Assisted Treatment is full recovery. MAT, in combination with counseling and therapy, has been shown to:
- Improve how long a person is expected to live by significantly reducing the risk of overdose
- Increase the chance of staying in treatment
- Help in regaining a healthy, normal life
- Help reduce cravings and prevent withdrawal symptoms
- Help increase the individual's ability to maintain employment
For more information or to be started on this program, talk to your primary care provider about this treatment or call Shelley Glenz, RN at 218-631-3510, ext. 7870 to talk about the opioid management program.
Other services offered through this program includes:
- Click here to learn about how one patient was able to find relief from addiction and reached 12 months sober.