What is Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

MAT uses medication, counseling, and other therapies to treat addiction to substances like heroin, prescription pain medication, and alcohol. MAT is also used to prevent overdoses of opioids.

Can I choose medication only if I want to enter treatment?

MAT should combine medication, counseling, and other treatment; outcomes are best when people receive all three. Treatment might include behavioral therapy, which identifies self-destructive or unhealthy behaviors and helps a person to practice new, healthy behaviors. Treatment and support services should reflect each person’s needs. The goals are to reduce, eliminate, or prevent the use of illicit drugs or alcohol and to improve quality of life.

Which medications are used in MAT?

Chestnut Health Systems prescribes primarily VIVITROL® and SUBOXONE®.

How do MAT medications work?

Different medications work in different ways. VIVITROL® blocks the effects of opioid medications. It is known to decrease cravings for alcohol. SUBOXONE® prevents withdrawal symptoms and stops cravings for opiates. It also partially blocks the effects of heroin and other opioid medications.

Are they safe?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the medications used as part of MAT. MAT programs provide a safe, controlled level of medication to help the patient overcome opioid abuse or addiction. Doctors and other health professionals are involved in prescribing, determining dosage, and deciding how long a person stays on medication. This involves frequent visits with the health care provider. Research has shown that MAT medications given at the proper dose do not negatively affect a person’s intelligence, mental capability, physical functioning, or ability to get and keep a job.

How long can I expect to be on MAT?

The length of treatment varies based on the patient’s needs and treatment plan. A patient may need these medications for months, years, or even a lifetime. MAT has been shown to dramatically reduce the need for inpatient detox for people living with opioid abuse or addiction.

How much experience does Chestnut Health Systems have with MAT?

Since 1974, Chestnut has cared for people living with substance use and addiction. Chestnut has offered MAT since 2011. MAT is currently available at Chestnut’s locations in Granite City, Belleville, and Bloomington, Illinois.

Does MAT work?

Based on scientific studies, MAT is the recommended treatment for opioid use disorder. It has proven to be highly effective for both alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder. MAT provides a comprehensive, tailored program as well as support services that address the needs of most patients. Like other diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. MAT has been shown to greatly improve quality of life and level of functioning. The ultimate goal of MAT is sustained remission, including the ability to live a self-directed life.

How can I learn more?

In Madison and St. Clair Counties, call 618.877.4420. In McLean County, call 309.827.6026.