Facts About MAT and Recovery

woman dressed as doctor talking facts on MAT
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Many people who get sober rely on Medication-Assisted Treatment as a tool to stay sober long-term. The FDA says that MAT is a “gold standard treatment” that can help people sustain their sobriety and get treatment. Yet there are still some people who view MAT with disdain or suspicion. Some of this is because they’re unfamiliar with it, and some come from beliefs that don’t mesh with the science, such as the idea that MAT is simply “trading one drug for another.”

5 Important Facts About MAT

What myths have you heard about addiction and MAT? Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusing information out there. Here are some of the essential facts to know.

  1. MAT is an FDA-approved treatment for opioid use disorder. It saves lives by preventing cravings that often lead to relapse and overdose.
  2. MAT is a superior treatment when it comes to preventing relapse and overdose. People who stay on MAT are less likely to relapse and more likely to complete long-term treatment programs.
  3. Doctors and other medical professionals decide what dosage of medication is appropriate for people with opioid use disorder. It is a medical decision between the patient and their doctor, not the treatment center or probation officer.
  4. People who use MAT as a tool for recovery use it alongside other tools. They often go to detox, then treatment, and continue to work on their recovery through peer support groups. Many of them come through the doors of our sober housing programs!
  5. MAT is a safe medication that has helped millions of people get – and stay – sober from opioids and other drugs. Most people taper off it within a year, but some chronic relapsers may remain on it for years. It does not cause any long-term harm, and dosages only go down, not up, after a patient is stable.

Understanding MAT and Opioid Use Disorder

Opioid use disorder is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. These deaths are tragic and preventable. MAT is an essential tool that can stop people from relapsing and exposing themselves to street drugs laced with fentanyl, the top cause of drug overdose deaths.

MAT can help people stay sober from opioids for years. It can remove the intense cravings that the brain generates when deprived of opioids. Because of this, people can focus on repairing and healing their lives from the havoc caused by addiction. They learn new coping skills and start to live life on its terms.

Consider Sober Housing as a Tool

If you or somebody you love is looking for a living situation after getting sober, we can help! Our sober homes offer structure as well as independence, with a focus on recovery. Our homes provide community, recovery activities, and safety for newly sober people. Learn more about how we can help! Give us a call at 760-216-2077.

Recently, a new law was added to the California books that requires public schools to keep a steady supply of Narcan, also known as Naloxone, in their emergency supplies. The opioid overdose reversal drug has become a vital public health tool as the drug supply has been inundated with fentanyl. However, schools aren’t the only way that Narcan has saved lives. People who don’t use opioids but live in California have begun to take the harm-reducing measure into their own hands. Several community members spoke recently to the LA Times to describe how they have helped save lives by carrying it on them when they’re out in their communities.

What Is Naloxone, And How Can You Carry It?

Naloxone, known chiefly by its brand name, Narcan, is an opioid-overdose reversal tool approved by the FDA. People who want to carry Naloxone on hand or keep it in their homes face few barriers thanks to California legislation.

The Department of Health Services in your county will be able to distribute fentanyl to people who want to carry it. LA County has made it a mission to hand out 50,000 doses in a year, including people living in encampments uniquely positioned to save drug-using peers.

People who don’t use drugs are still often in a position to save lives. Family members often come across an unconscious relative and try to administer CPR. Naloxone is the only thing that can reverse the effects of an overdose. Many parents and spouses of addicted persons now keep Naloxone in their homes in case of emergency.

Fentanyl Is a Public Health Emergency

Fentanyl has caused an uptick in deaths for Californians in the past three years. It's been found as an additive in almost every type of street drug. In 2021, 625 people died of an overdose in San Francisco, an uptick of 41%. So many people in the community see carrying Narcan as a way to help others stay alive long enough to find recovery. EMTs, people in recovery from addiction, and other empathetic people have revived overdose victims and helped them stay alive.

Narcan is just one tool to help fight the fentanyl epidemic. However, it’s a powerful one – saving a life is a priceless task. Once a person has been revived, they still need medical attention. Most likely, they will be given drug treatment options when in the ER. Some of them will take the chance and decide to get sober. Others will take a little longer.

Treatment centers and sober living homes in California stock Narcan as a preventative measure.

When a person is still alive and breathing, the chance for recovery is always there.

Consider Sober Living

If you are looking for a safe and vibrant recovery housing option, look no further! We offer structured living and independence, helping people build a new life in recovery. Learn more about how our community and homes can help you continue your journey in life. Call us at 760-216-2077 to explore your options.

Many people who decide to get sober use tools like Medication-Assisted Treatment to reduce withdrawal symptoms and help them focus on their recovery. Sublocade is a Medication-Assisted Treatment option many people prefer because it’s only administered once a month. It is prescribed and administered by medical professionals for people with opioid use disorder who want to stay sober.

What Is Sublocade?

Sublocade contains the drug buprenorphine and is administered monthly in a medical provider’s office. For many people, it’s a safe and responsible way to go about their lives while getting relief from withdrawal symptoms and opioid cravings.

Sublocade works best when the person taking it also gets counseling via drug treatment or one-on-one therapy. This can help newly sober people gain insight into themselves and understand their addiction. Opioid use disorder is manageable, but Medication-Assisted treatment is only part of managing it. Getting therapy can also help somebody learn new coping skills and learn to live a more authentic, happy life drug-free.

How Often Is Sublocade Needed?

People prescribed Sublocade need to get the injection monthly in a healthcare provider’s office. Most treatment providers will start patients with a 300mg dosage and eventually will be weaned down to a lower dose, usually 100mg. Some people will stay on 300mg longer if their healthcare provider deems it necessary.

People can use Sublocade as MAT for as long as the doctor approves. Some people will get an injection for months, while others may need to stay on it for years.

Sublocade Injections Increase Sobriety Success Rates

According to the manufacturer, in one clinical study, people treated with Sublocade were fourteen times more likely to complete their treatment programs and stay sober. 28% of people who got therapy/treatment alongside their MAT stayed sober for at least 24 months.

In the study, the group that was given a placebo only had a 3% success rate over the same period. While some people did relapse in the more successful group, everyone who stayed sober for at least 80% of those 24 months did so with the help of Sublocade.

Consider Sober Living

If you or somebody you love needs a safe space to lay their head, sober living may be the healthiest choice. Living in an environment where people work toward positive change can be inspiring and help you stay focused on your goals. Learn more about our communities by calling us at 760-216-2077.

Doctors prescribe many medications to help with mental health disorders, including anxiety disorders and PTSD. Some anxiety medications, however, are also highly addictive. People who become dependent on drugs like Xanax or Klonopin may develop a tolerance and need more medication to get the same effects. Some people who have taken these drugs long-term may end up abusing them.

Long-term use, and increased dosages, can create a physical dependence on the drug. A person with a substance use disorder may take larger amounts of the medication than prescribed. It's recommended that people with a substance use disorder steer clear of prescription anxiety medications that are also addictive.

Which Types of Prescription Anxiety Medications Are Addictive?

First of all, benzodiazepines, such as Xanax are highly addictive. Other drugs that are not prescribed as often for anxiety, such as sedatives like Valium, also have the potential for abuse or addiction. These classes of drugs, when taken in large amounts and stopped suddenly, can also cause withdrawal effects like fevers, shaking, or even seizures or heart palpitations.

Many people initially take the prescribed amount of a drug to get help with their anxiety. Drugs like benzos or sedatives can create peaceful or even euphoric feelings in the user. It’s not surprising that these effects can cause a person to take more than prescribed.

Anti-anxiety pills can help people cope with anxiety, but sometimes they become the only coping mechanism. They also stop working so well. Addiction to a drug can cause you to experience intense anxiety when you are in withdrawal. This can create a cycle of substance use that it feels hard to escape.

 

Alternative Methods For Coping With Anxiety

When a person quits using a benzo or sedative to help with their anxiety, there are other methods for treating their anxiety. Prescription drugs like Lexapro are helpful for anxiety and depression and do not cause any euphoric feelings. A psychiatrist is best qualified to help with medication changes. There are also therapy groups and methods such as mindfulness that can help you begin to work through anxiety.

Getting sober and no longer abusing substances will help you live with less anxiety. In treatment or 12-step groups, you’ll learn new coping skills. Therapy can help you learn more about your anxiety, cope with anxiety and begin to practice more healthy coping skills.

Stay Focused On Sober Living

Many people who want to stay sober find refuge in recovery communities like sober homes. In a sober living situation, you’ll be part of a group of peers on the recovery journey. Structure, camaraderie, and therapy can help you stay on course as you learn to live life substance-free.

Learn more about sober living by calling us at 760-216-2077.

A recent letter to the Acting Director of Health and Human Services in the Biden administration urged action for expanding the availability of Medication-Assisted Treatment through the Office of National Drug Control Policy. This comes on the heels of Biden suspending the former administration's OUD (opioid use disorder) guidelines.

Who Sent the Letter on OUD Treatment?

In response to a recent retraction of Trump guidelines, the letter announced on January 27, 2021, was written by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) and signed by representatives from seven representatives with over 150,000 members and 2200 treatment centers. The Biden administration recently decided to withdraw the previous administration's Practicing Guidelines for Administration of Buprenorphine for Treating Opioid Use Disorder to update them and provide better access.

Medication-Assisted Treatment: Science-Based OUD Tools

The letter from AAAP implored the Biden administration to expand access to science-based medication. Buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone are all medications that have been proven to help people get and stay sober.

Medications that help people addicted to opioids are crucial in assisting them to avoid the compulsion to use. Buprenorphine and methadone help people prevent painful and challenging withdrawal symptoms.

For many treatment programs, the idea of medication carries a stigma. Because of this, it's vitally important that more doctors are educated about how MAT works and how it should be administered. Many medical professionals have felt uncomfortable prescribing it because of a lack of education.

Opioids are notoriously tricky to cease using due to the problematic withdrawal symptoms they cause when a person quits using.

Opioid Prescribing Education and Guidance

The letter for AAAP also says that the Biden administration needs to begin a focus on opioid addiction prevention. They say that this means requiring all prescribers of opioids to be taught about opioids dependence, addiction, and withdrawal.

Preventing opioid addiction is the best long-term strategy for ending the opioid epidemic. It's unclear what path the Biden administration will decide to take regarding new addiction recovery health policies.

Sober Living San Diego

Do you or somebody you love need a space to get back on your feet now that you're sober? Our homes are bright, cheerful, friendly homes with both community and structure to help you stay on your path to recovery. We have a lot to offer our residents! Give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more.

- By Philip, Milgram, MD

Worry, fear, boredom, anxiety, loneliness, escapism, insomnia; these are the emotions that plague our society. The plague that is COVID is making these human imperfections more frequent and more pronounced. There are healthy effective ways we can not only deal with these feelings and situations. But it is human tendency to take an immediate and effective way to escape: The Devil’s Drugs. They are readily (too readily) available. There is easy access to someone who can promise you the gates of heaven. You are invincible. And you want it now. From a friend or family member who has some. Or from a prescriber who will prescribe, sometimes inadvertently but often as a legitimate dealer. Hey, maybe it‘s even covered by your insurance. Maybe you know somebody who knows someone who can get it for you in a park or a parking lot. Trust me. You are not invincible. These are not your grandparent’s drugs. These synthetic drugs have a high addiction potential. I don’t think they should have ever been released to the public, like Quaaludes. You give these drugs to a thousand white mice…and a thousand whit mice will be pushing that button for more. Physiologically, we are not dissimilar from a white mouse. They use these same white mice to test the drugs and extrapolate to human consumption. WE WANT MORE OF THAT!!

These drugs cause what is known as hyperalgesia. Let’s say you stroke the hairs on your arm with a feather. These drugs make a stimulus that would be a tickle or an unpleasurable event and convert it to pain. What do you do? I WANT MORE OF THAT!!

Then you develop tolerance to the drug. Until you rapidly, sometimes within days, need more to get you to that place where you want to be. And you then know. I NEED MORE OF THAT!!

We have been very successful treating alcoholism and drug addiction to heroin, opiates with our innovative and experienced team and the magical molecule of NAD+ (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide), which detoxifies and fixes your brain, relieving withdrawal symptoms and cravings with much greater regularity than your neighborhood rehab center. But these are The Devil’s Drugs. And they require an all out and effective therapeutic approach to avoid the gates of hell; loss of you job, your family, your money, your home. And finally you lose yourself and then you lose hope. Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonipen, Ativan, Ambien and the sort) are not a good solution. You solve a problem by creating another problem. But prescribers too readily whip out their prescription pads to give you a stopgap that may be as bad or worse than the original problem. Please don’t take Kratom either. Often the addiction to Kratom is worse than heroin. Unfortunately, it is readily available and touted as “natural”. When you are addicted to Kratom, you may be suffering such terrible withdrawals that you have to use through the night every two hours.

The best way to avoid this whole situation is to not allow these drugs into your body. Avoid them all-knowingly because I have here told you of their power, their danger, and the high percentage for your physiologic tendency as a normal human being to succumb to the power of these drugs. But it is human tendency to think you are different, stronger, better, even invincible. I WANT TO FEEL IT, NOW!!

We have an alternative therapy here in Carlsbad, with the magic molecule (NAD+) that is already present in every living animal and plant cell. And that the body naturally uses to detoxify, heal, pump up immunity, and create new neural pathways that results in less cravings, less withdrawal symptoms and a high degree of long-lasting sobriety, health, longevity and wellness. We help restore restful sleep, use additional therapies, and get you on the road to a new life free from the influence of these drugs.

NAD+ is the magic. There is an art to the administration of it—starting with the best NAD+. Then there are therapies that enhance and propagate the NAD+ effect. Then, once off the drugs, you need to deal with the emotional, physical, depression, anxiety, any underlying mental disease, situation, and establish an ongoing program of healthy nurturing lifestyle.

There is such a thing as recovery, let us show you.

Phillip Milgram MD

Over 1000 meetings. You bump into everyone in recovery from the gas station to the grocery. Is this good?

Well, being alone and isolated leads to the city of no bueno. Accountability, friendship, support and activities will make anyone worried or stress think twice about being lonely.

By the Sea recovery is San Diego's premiere sober living home. Call us for help & answers on how to live in a great sober house.

Here's a list of AA meeting finder as well as sober activities in San Diego.

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