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The Role of MAT at RCA

Medication Assisted Treatment

Achieve and maintain recovery with medication assisted treatment (also called medication for addiction treatment). The first step in addiction treatment is minimizing cravings and physical withdrawal. Whether that means going through medically monitored detoxification or participating in medication assisted treatment, the choice is yours and yours alone. Medication assisted treatment (MAT) is an option for patients to jumpstart and assist with their recovery. You decide how to reach recovery—Recovery Centers of America will provide you with the available treatment modalities.

Benefits of Medication Assisted Treatment

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has recognized that MAT is clinically effective in helping people achieve and maintain recovery. MAT provides a comprehensive, individually tailored program of both medication and behavioral therapy, this formula is often the key our patients need to stay in long-term recovery. We also provide educational seminars and workshops, STD screening, physical exams, psychological assessments, and job readiness programs.

The benefits of medically assisted treatment include:

  • Improve patient survival.
  • Increase retention in treatment.
  • Reduce opioid misuse and related criminal behavior among individuals struggling with substance use disorders.
  • Increase patients’ ability to gain and maintain employment.
  • Improve birth outcomes for pregnant women with substance use disorders.
  • Additional research shows that these medications and therapies can lower a person’s risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis C by reducing the potential for relapse.

The benefits of using MAT to treat substance use disorders are clear. It provides patients with a comprehensive approach to recovery, addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction.

Types of Medications Used for MAT

Please note: MAT offerings vary by RCA locations

Here’s an explanation of how these specific medications function:


Methadone is perhaps the most well-known and highly regulated medication used during treatment for opioid addiction. Methadone is a full agonist, meaning that it binds with opioid receptors in the brain to produce the desired effect.

This lessens the painful symptoms of opioid withdrawal and blocks the euphoric effects of an opiate drug. When methadone is administered properly during MAT, the patient feels normal, does not physically crave opiates, and does not become lethargic. Methadone is administered once per day via a liquid solution. Methadone dosages need to be slowly built up over time to avoid the risk of overdosing. This medication can be dangerous when misused.

Suboxone (Buprenorphine)

While methadone is a full agonist, the FDA-approved Suboxone (buprenorphine) is a partial agonist that is used during MAT. This means it does not bind fully to opioid receptors like methadone.

Comprised of buprenorphine and naloxone, Suboxone is effective for treating opioid withdrawal as it alleviates physical symptoms and decreases cravings. If an individual attempts to misuse opioids such as heroin and prescription painkillers while taking Suboxone, that person will not experience the high normally associated with these drugs because naloxone counteracts the effects that opioids have on the brain. RCA offers Suboxone in our MAT programming.

Subutex (Buprenorphine)

The active ingredient in Subutex is buprenorphine, just like in Suboxone. The two medications are nearly identical in effect, route of administration, and duration. The main difference between the two is the additional ingredient naloxone in Suboxone. Naloxone is added to the formulation of Suboxone to prevent misuse of the medication. However, some people don’t tolerate naloxone, and it is also not recommended for pregnant women. Unlike Suboxone, Subutex does not contain naloxone, which makes it the go-to partial agonist opioid addiction treatment option for those who can’t take Suboxone.


This monthly injection is an extended-release buprenorphine injection. Similar to Suboxone, buprenorphine is an opiate that activates receptors in the brain but in a controlled fashion. This means there will be no euphoric feelings that cause cravings. Once injected by a medical professional, Sublocade begins to be distributed throughout the body, working to minimize withdrawal symptoms while reducing cravings. When utilized in combination with counseling and medical supervision, Sublocade can assist adults in achieving and sustaining recovery. 

VIVITROL® (Naltrexone for Extended-Release Injectable Suspension)

This FDA-approved injectable medication is an antagonist designed to avert cravings for an extended amount of time. Administered only once each month during a medication assisted treatment program, this naltrexone-based medication wards off opioid cravings, alleviates physical symptoms of withdrawal, and prevents overdose from occurring. VIVITROL® requires the user to abstain from any opiate for 14 days before the first injection.



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