The ROAD Program
Medication Assisted Treatment & Behavioral Health Services
Our ROAD Program offers a combination of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and Behavioral Health services through our community partners, which we believe is the best recipe for recovery. To that end, please note that patients enrolled in the ROAD program MUST be involved in both MAT and Behavioral Health services. We adhere to the abstinence model, meaning that drug or alcohol use while enrolled in the program is prohibited and verified by urine testing every visit.
Medication Assisted Treatment is the use of medication and behavioral health therapy to provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Research shows that a combination of medication and therapy yields far better outcomes than one treatment alone. This combination also helps individuals sustain recovery for the rest of their lives.
The goal of MAT is full and lasting recovery, and to promote longevity and improve quality of life. These outcomes have been well-documented in the scientific literature by a significant number of “double-blind, placebo-controlled” scientific studies. Some MAT medications (such as Buprenorphine) are listed in the World Health Organization’s list of essential medications. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA), “the prescribed medication normalizes brain chemistry, blocks the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, relieves cravings, and normalizes body functions without the negative effects of the abused drugs.”
At ROAD to a Better Life, we use Buprenorphine and Naltrexone for MAT treatment of Opioid Use Disorder.
Buprenorphine for Opioid Use Disorder
Buprenorphine is a long-acting medication that blocks the effects of other opioids yet also rapidly relieves withdrawal symptoms and eases cravings. As a long-acting medication, buprenorphine therapy replaces the extreme highs and lows of illegal drug use. After stabilization has been reached (usually within a few days to a week) a patient will no longer experience euphoric effects from illicit drugs.
Buprenorphine has been found to have an antidepressant effect.  Depressed patients who have been self-medicating with illicit opioids may find buprenorphine particularly useful in assisting in their recovery.
Naltrexone for Opioid Use Disorder and Alcohol Use Disorder
Naltrexone, when taken in high enough doses, will block the effects of all other opioids. A patient with Naltrexone in their system will be unable to obtain a ‘high’ from the use of opioids.
Naltrexone comes in two primary forms in the United States – a pill form and injection. The pill form is generally taken on a daily basis. The injection form (Vivitrol) is a combination of Naltrexone and a substance similar to dissolvable sutures that allows the medication to be slowly released into the bloodstream. A Vivitrol injection will be effective for approximately 28 days.
Naltrexone (both pill and Vivitrol) has also been shown to be effective in decreasing alcohol use. The effects vary widely from person to person – some patients report total cessation of consumption while others report a decrease in use. Regardless of the degree of effects, naltrexone therapy will result in an increased quality of life for most patients.
MAT for Other Substance Use Disorders
While Opioid and Alcohol Use Disorders have been shown to be the most responsive to Medication Assisted Treatment therapy, Cocaine Use Disorder and other Substance Use Disorders have had some limited success with a variety of medications. A ROAD to a Better Life provider will discuss in more detail with any patients seeking medication assistance with Cocaine Use Disorder or other Substance Use Disorders.
A ROAD medical provider may also wish to prescribe additional medications not described above to assist a patient. By way of example, the ROAD medical provider may prescribe medications for comorbidities such as depression or anxiety, or the provider may refer a patient to a psychiatrist for even more focused pharmacologic treatment.