When someone is battling with substance abuse, especially with opioids, it’s a serious situation. Opioids include prescription drugs like morphine and oxycodone, as well as illegal drugs like heroin. Misuse of these drugs can lead to overdose, a potentially deadly event. One treatment, called Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), can significantly reduce the risk of an overdose. Let’s explore how.
Understanding Substance Abuse and Overdose
Substance abuse means using a drug, alcohol, or other substances in a way that can harm your health, your relationships, or your life. An overdose happens when a person takes too much of a drug and it causes serious, harmful symptoms or death. With opioids, an overdose can slow or stop breathing, which can be deadly.
What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a way of treating substance abuse, especially opioid addiction, that combines medication with counseling and behavioral therapies. The idea is to address not just the physical part of addiction (like cravings and withdrawal symptoms), but also the emotional and mental parts (like why someone started using drugs in the first place).
The medications used in this therapy help to stabilize the body’s response to opioids, reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. This makes it easier for a person to focus on the other parts of their recovery.
How Does MAT Prevent Overdose?
Here’s how MAT can help prevent overdose:
Reduces Cravings: The medications used help to reduce cravings for opioids. This makes a person less likely to use the drug, which reduces the risk of overdose.
Blocks the Effects of Opioids: Some MAT medications, like buprenorphine and naltrexone, can block the effects of opioids. This means that even if a person does take an opioid, they won’t feel the high that they’re used to. This can discourage use of the drug and lower the risk of an overdose.
Stabilizes the Body: By reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings, MAT medications help to stabilize the body. This can make a person less likely to take large, potentially dangerous amounts of opioids in an attempt to feel better.
Provides a Controlled, Safe Environment: It includes regular check-ins with a healthcare provider. This means a person’s health can be closely monitored, and any signs of potential overdose can be caught and addressed early.
What Happens During MAT?
When you start MAT, you’ll first meet with a healthcare provider to talk about your situation and make a treatment plan. This might include choosing a medication, setting up counseling or therapy sessions, and discussing other supports that might help, like support groups or help with housing or employment.
Once you start your medication, you’ll usually have regular check-ins with your healthcare provider. This is a time to talk about how you’re doing, how the medication is working, and any problems you’re running into. It’s a team effort, and your healthcare provider is there to support you every step of the way.
Substance abuse and overdose are serious issues, but there is hope. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a proven way to treat opioid addiction and reduce the risk of overdose. By combining medication with counseling and behavioral therapies, MAT can address all parts of addiction and support a person on their journey to recovery.
Remember, recovery is possible, and it’s never too late to ask for help. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, reach out to a healthcare provider or a trusted adult. This protocol could be a life-saving step on the journey to a healthier, happier life.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Renew Health. We’re here to help you recover for good.