The Urgent Need for Medication-Assisted Treatment in California

map of California“The government is talking about treatment and medication-assisted treatment in a way that the government has never done before.” ~ Tom Hill, Vice-President of Addiction and Recovery, National Council for Behavioral Health

Now that addiction is finally recognized as a disease, recovery specialists are frustrated that Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is not universally employed as the most effective support strategy.

And in a state as large and populous as California, that can be a major problem for struggling alcoholics and drug addicts.

What is MAT?

As with other chronic conditions such as – asthma or diabetes, there are certain medications that, when combined with other therapies and lifestyle changes, can stop addiction’s progress and make life more manageable.

This is the goal of MAT.

While it is not a cure, it does assist the person in recovery while they receive other forms of treatment, such as psychological counseling and group therapy.

Common Uses For MAT Medications

People in recovery may be prescribed any of several MAT drugs for:

  • Cravings
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • As a deterrent

MAT — the combination of medication and counseling — is considered the “gold standard” of addiction treatment.

A Shortage of MAT in California

Despite this, there is a decided shortage of MAT and providers in the state of California, with unfortunate consequences. In fact, among the 21 zip codes in California with the worst opioid overdose death rates, NONE have nearby MAT facilities.

In fact, there are 28 counties in California without MAT facilities, and 17 of them have death rates that are higher than the overall state average. Even worse, 6 of them have drug death rates that are more than triple the California average.

What Does All of This Mean?

The death rate statistics highlight the importance and the urgency of utilizing the best evidence-based practice to treat the disease of addiction. For the future, this means increasing the number of MAT facilities in California. For right now, however, it means the best chance a struggling addict or alcoholic has to recover is by participating in a rehab program that utilizes MAT strategies.

In Southern California, one of your top resources is Lasting Recovery, a premier outpatient drug rehab located conveniently in San Diego.  In addition to other evidence-based and wellness-focused strategies, Lasting Recovery offers approved prescription medications to reduce and alleviate symptoms of withdrawal.

Lasting Recovery – “Where Wellness Begins…”

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