In recent weeks, the Obama administration and federal agencies have been looking for ways to increase access to medication assisted treatment (MAT) as a way to combat the opioid abuse crisis. In fact, a recent memo from the president instructed relevant agencies to report back to the White House on what exactly they plan to do to reduce barriers to MAT.
Obviously MAT remains a bit of a hot-button issue among stakeholders with some arguing that MAT only swaps one addiction for another and that patients who use it never transition off. Increasingly, more clinicians believe MAT is quite helpful as a tool to get those with addiction past ongoing physical challenges so they can focus on the journey of recovery.
The National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers (NAATP) recently issued a statement reminding the community that it supports the use of evidence based methods for the treatment of addiction, which includes bio-psycho-social care and MAT, used as part of a holistic treatment approach. According to NAATP, members have long endorsed the model.
NAATP Executive Director Marvin Ventrell said in the statement that it’s important “we integrate rather than isolate systems of care, including MAT and bio-psycho-social care. Our industry embraces this approach.”
“And since we don't reject it, I was motivated to take the opportunity to comment on the value of MAT in conjunction with other components of care,” he said.
Another Huffington Post article published in January found lack of access to MAT and attributed it to the idea that the treatment industry overwhelmingly resists it.
Perhaps your own community broadly embraces MAT. Perhaps it’s 50/50. Either way, you have a perception issue. Are the barriers to MAT simply access problems—with too few providers available—or are they ideological? If they're ideological, consider NAATP's stance and consider the new federal resources now being driven toward MAT. Does your community have a business case to change its mind?