The United States is facing an epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose deaths. Drug overdose is now the leading ause of accidental death in America. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2018, approximately 10.3 million people aged 12 or older misused opioids in the past year. In addition, approximately 2.1 million people aged 12 or older had an opioid use disorder (OUD).
SAMHSA awarded State Opioid Response to the Opioid Crisis (SOR) grants to DHCS to address the opioid crisis in California. The SOR grant’s purpose is to improve access to treatment, reduce unmet treatment need, and reduce opioid overdose-related deaths through the provision of OUD prevention, treatment, and recovery activities.
Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT) is the use of FDA-approved prescription medications, usually in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a whole-person approach to the treatment of substance use disorders (SUD). MAT has proven clinically effective to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal, reduce cravings, and block the brain’s ability to experience the opiate’s effect. MAT maintenance has been proven to cut overdose rates in half and decrease rates of HIV and hepatitis C transmission. Research shows that a combination of MAT and behavioral therapies is a successful method to treat OUD. According to SAMHSA, the ultimate goal of MAT is a full recovery, including the ability to live a self-directed life. This treatment approach has been shown to:
- Improve patient survival
- Increase retention in treatment
- Decrease illicit opioid use and other criminal activity among people with SUD
- Increase patients’ ability to gain and maintain employment
- Improve birth outcomes among pregnant women with substance use disorders