MAT, or medication-assisted therapy, is a system to help drug addicts recover that utilizes both therapy and the aid of certain medications.
Fortunately, it is a very effective method of handling addiction among many people. But unfortunately, many barriers to access still exist.
The first barrier is the cost of MAT. It is unfortunately quite expensive, which serves as a huge deterrent for many people, especially as individuals with drug addictions tend to have lower incomes.
As North Carolina Health News states, funds to help defray costs for the program have been set forth by the Department of Health and Human Services. However, despite 1 in every 20 people in North Carolina suffering from an addiction, only 10,000 to 12,000 people have received aid through this.
Some of the drugs used in MAT, like buprenorphine and methadone, are strictly controlled substances. Only doctors with a special waiver may prescribe them for the treatment of addiction recovery, and only 7 percent of all doctors in America have undergone the eight-hour training program needed to get this waiver.
The requirement of detox
Naltrexone, one of the drugs used in MAT, has the potential to wreak havoc on the body if any traces of opioids still exist in the system. For this reason, patients need a clean system for 7 to 10 days before the MAT therapy can even begin. This means they must undergo detoxification, which is a difficult, grueling and painful process that many simply cannot make their way through.