Facts About MAT and Recovery
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.
- MAT is an FDA-approved treatment for opioid use disorder. It saves lives by preventing cravings that often lead to relapse and overdose.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
Many people can stay sober in recovery with the help of a treatment program and support system. Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a particularly insidious disorder. People who need help with OUD usually benefit from detox, treatment, and sometimes Medication-Assisted Treatment. Relapse among opioid users is common, sadly. But relapse can also be part of a success story, too. Getting back up and staying in recovery is an option.
People with OUD get sober and start their recovery journey every day. For those new to recovery, relapse can still be an issue. Fentanyl poses serious challenges for people who may relapse.
Opioid Use Disorder and Fentanyl
Opioid use disorder is a disorder of the brain. When the brain is deprived of opioids, a person who uses them will experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms. People with access to Medication-Assisted Treatment typically experience minimal symptoms, making their sobriety success rates higher.
People with opioid use disorder often use different opioids, ranging from heroin to morphine. Fentanyl, however, is a drug that is more dangerous than morphine. It can be 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine and has a high overdose fatality rate.
Opioids are dangerous enough because they are so addictive. When people use one dosage for a period, they grow tolerance and need more drugs to get the same effects. With fentanyl, this can mean certain death. Fentanyl is responsible for up to 80% of opioid overdose deaths. Much of it is made by drug dealers in a garage or lab, and there are no quality or safety checks.
People who use other drugs may still end up using fentanyl. The DEA has said that 26% of trafficked pills, often purported to be something else, contain a deadly amount of fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a dangerous narcotic, and an opioid-naïve user can accidentally overdose when digesting even a tiny amount.
Fentanyl and Other Opioid Use
Many people with opioid use disorder start taking drugs like Oxycontin and later take morphine or heroin as their supply dwindles. The pandemic also caused supply chain issues for the world of illegal narcotics. Because of this, people who were addicted to one type of opioid sometimes had to settle for another drug that they may not have been familiar with.
For many people who are addicted to opioids, it’s challenging to quit. If a person who uses Percocet or another less potent opioid switches to fentanyl suddenly, their body may not be able to handle it. Fentanyl, when mixed with other drugs, can also have an exaggerated effect. In both cases, a person’s breathing and pulse may slow. If they stop breathing, they will die.
Narcan, an opioid-overdose reversal drug, is an essential tool that can save lives. People who have ingested deadly amounts of fentanyl often need multiple canisters of the drug to help reverse an overdose. They also need to be monitored in the hospital.
Relapse, Opioid Use Disorder, and Fentanyl Dangers
Relapse is often a part of a person’s recovery journey. That’s only true, however, if the addicted person is lucky enough to make it back to recovery. People who relapse on drugs have higher overdose death rates. It’s not always an easy journey back to sobriety for some people.
People who overdose on drugs often try to go back to the amount of drugs they were doing when they got sober. However, when the drug a person is using is an opioid, this can be a deadly lapse in judgment. This is true for people who use other drugs, such as cocaine, that can also be spiked with deadly fentanyl.
Many people in the US who use drugs remain unaware of the dangers of fentanyl-tainted drugs. As a result, it’s becoming a danger to anyone who uses drugs recreationally or buys them from illicit sources. More education and prevention efforts are needed from a public health perspective.
Sober Living Can Help You Stay on Track
Relapse doesn’t have to be a part of anyone’s recovery journey. Building a solid support network and learning the foundations of the 12-step program can help you stay sober, a day at a time. Sober living homes help add structure and give independence in early recovery. Learn more about our sober living programs by calling 760-216-2077.