Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder

The Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine offers Naltrexone Therapy as part of an overarching Medication-Assisted Treatment Program for Opioid Use Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder.

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What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is an evidence-based approach primarily used to treat individuals who are struggling with substance use disorders, particularly those related to opioids like heroin, fentanyl, opioid-based prescriptions, pain medications, or alcohol. This approach leverages medications and behavioral therapy to ease the withdrawal symptoms and help the patient throughout their detox and recovery. Studies indicate that MAT can reduce the risk of death from substance abuse by more than 50%.

Certain medications have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to assist with the treatment of substance use disorders for MAT. The behavioral component of MAT involves counseling and therapy to address the underlying psychological aspects of addiction. This can include cognitive-behavioral therapy, family counseling, and other forms of psychotherapy.

What Are The Common Medications Used In Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medications commonly used in MAT for opioid use are methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. Each of these medications works in a different way:

  • Methadone: Methadone has been used since the 1970s. It is a full opioid agonist, meaning it activates the same receptors in the brain as other opioids, but it does so more slowly and for a longer period of time. This helps to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms without producing the high associated with opioid abuse.
  • Buprenorphine/Suboxone: Like methadone, buprenorphine is also an opioid agonist, but it’s a partial agonist. This means that it has a “ceiling effect,” where after a certain point, additional doses will not produce increased effects. This helps to lower the potential for misuse. Buprenorphine is also commonly combined with naloxone to form Suboxone, which can also be used in MAT.
  • Naltrexone: Naltrexone is a medication that can be a powerful buffer during the challenging months of early recovery. Unlike methadone and buprenorphine, naltrexone is a non-addictive opioid antagonist. This means it blocks the activation of opioid receptors, suppressing the effects of opioids. The Coleman Institute has been one of the largest utilizers of long-acting forms of Naltrexone, which is a highly effective Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction.

Naltrexone And MAT For Opioid Addiction And Alcohol Addiction

Naltrexone is the preferred medication used at the Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine. We have used Naltrexone Therapy for over 25 years and believe in its efficacy and safety for opioid addiction treatment and alcohol addiction treatment. Since Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, it blocks the effects of opioids at their receptor sites in the brain. If someone takes opioids after Naltrexone Therapy, they won’t feel the typical euphoric effects. Because naltrexone blocks the euphoric effects of opioids, it can help reduce the desire to use opioids. It’s non-addictive and does not cause physical dependence. It also blocks the euphoric sensation from drinking alcohol.

The Coleman Institute offers two specially formulated, long-acting, slow-release Naltrexone options for patients, depending on their unique circumstances and needs:

  • Naltrexone Implant: This small implant is inserted into the fatty tissue of the abdomen via a small, half-inch incision, lasting up to 8 weeks.
  • Vivitrol Injection: This injection is administered monthly.

To encourage the development of new, healthier habits and to live a life of sobriety, we recommend 6 to 12 months of Naltrexone Therapy following a detox.

Benefits Of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT has been shown to improve patient survival, increase retention in treatment, decrease opiate use and increase patients’ ability to gain and maintain employment.

  • Reduce Illicit Opioid Use: MAT has been demonstrated to reduce illicit opioid use compared to treatments that don’t include medication.
  • Decrease Overdose Risk: MAT can significantly reduce the risk of fatal and non-fatal overdoses. By providing a controlled, prescribed dose of opioid or opioid antagonist, MAT reduces the variability and unpredictability associated with illicit drug use.
  • Improve Retention in Treatment: Patients receiving MAT often have higher treatment retention rates compared to those not receiving medication. This is crucial because longer engagement in treatment generally corresponds to better outcomes.
  • Enhance Social Functioning: MAT has been associated with improved social functioning, including increased employment, lower criminal activity, and improved family dynamics.

Who Is A Good Candidate For Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is primarily used for the treatment of substance use disorders, particularly opioid use disorders (OUD) and alcohol use disorders (AUD). Determining whether someone is a good candidate for MAT and which form of MAT is most appropriate involves a comprehensive assessment by a qualified medical professional, taking into account the individual’s medical history, substance use history, and other factors. Generally, potential candidates for MAT may have the following characteristics:

  • Diagnosis of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD): Individuals who have been diagnosed with OUD, whether it’s due to prescription painkillers, heroin, or other opioids, might benefit from MAT.
  • Diagnosis of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD): Individuals who have been diagnosed with AUD may benefit from MAT.
  • History of Relapse: MAT can be particularly useful for those who have a history of multiple relapses, as the medications can reduce cravings and block the effects of opioids, making relapse less appealing.
  • High Risk of Overdose: Those at high risk of opioid overdose can benefit from MAT to reduce the risk of overdose.
  • Commitment to Recovery: MAT is most effective when the individual is motivated and actively participates in the recovery process. This includes adhering to guidelines and engaging in counseling or behavioral therapies.
  • Inability to Sustain Abstinence: If an individual has repeatedly tried but been unable to maintain abstinence from opioids or alcohol, they might benefit from the support that MAT provides.

It’s important to note that while MAT can be a valuable tool in the treatment of substance use disorders, it’s most effective when combined with other therapeutic interventions, such as counseling, behavioral therapies, and supportive services. Decisions about starting MAT should be made collaboratively between the individual and their healthcare provider, considering the person’s unique needs, preferences, and circumstances.

Featured Locations

Accelerated Opioid Detox in Richmond, VA

The Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine – Richmond
204 N. Hamilton Street, Suite B
Richmond, VA 23221

Team Members Available for Questions by Phone 24/7

Office Hours
Monday – Thursday 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM EST
Friday 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM EST

Accelerated Opioid Detox in
Atlanta, GA

The Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine – Atlanta
Keating Family Medicine
1080 Lumpkin Campground Road, Suite 300
Dawsonville, GA 30534

Team Members Available for Questions by Phone 24/7

Office Hours
Monday – Friday 8:30 AM – 3:30  PM EST

Accelerated Opioid Detox in
Denver, CO

The Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine – Denver
ARCH Detox
15101 E. Iliff Ave, Suite 250
Aurora, CO 80014
895 S. Logan St, Suite B
Denver, CO 80209

Team Members Available for Questions by Phone 24/7

Office Hours
Monday – Friday 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM EST

Accelerated Opioid Detox in
Phoenix, AZ

The Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine – Phoenix
AMF Medical, LLC.
2002 East Osborn Road
Phoenix, AZ 85016

Team Members Available for Questions by Phone 24/7

Office Hours
Monday – Friday 8:30 AM – 3:30  PM EST

See What Other Patients are Saying about Coleman Institute…


Whitney – Former Opioid User

“This couldn’t have been a better experience – there’s so much personalized attention.”


Dustin – Former Opioid User

“I’m free and clear of the bondage of my addiction.”

Ready to Reclaim Your Life?

Get back to being yourself with our safe and effective method for accelerated opioid detox.

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