Treating Addiction

Treatments can help

Addiction is complex, but it is treatable. No single treatment is right for all people. Currently, for opioid addictions, medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, is considered the best approach. MAT drugs can reduce a person’s cravings for opioids, as well as decrease withdrawal symptoms. MAT is combined with counseling and other behavioral therapies that address social and emotional needs.

MAT involves medications such as methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone:

  • Methadone is available through clinics. It prevents withdrawal. Methadone is regulated and dispensed as part of an opioid treatment program. 
  • Buprenorphine can be administered by qualified physicians in office settings. It also reduces withdrawal symptoms.
  • Naltrexone can also be administered in physician office settings. Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioid drugs and may reduce cravings.

Medication that can save lives

Naloxone is the drug used to treat opioid overdoses by reversing or blocking the effects of opioids. It must be administered shortly after an overdose occurs and is widely used by first responders to prevent opioid overdose deaths.

This drug is not used to treat addiction, only to reverse overdoses. Naloxone distribution is a safe and effective strategy for preventing opioid-related overdose. Increasingly, naloxone distribution programs are providing naloxone kits to friends, family, and others who may find themselves needing to respond to someone experiencing an opioid overdose.