Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a combination of behavioral counseling and the use of certain prescription medications. MAT is most commonly used for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). This treatment uses prescription medications both in the initial detoxification and the long-term follow-up to suppress withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. The medications are intended to help patients re-establish normal brain function and prevent relapse along with behavioral therapy. Unfortunately, few OUD patients have access to MAT treatment due to barriers including the social stigma, cost, and lack of education.
The federal government has prioritized expanding access to MAT as an important element in reducing OUDs and overdoses. Because pharmacists are considered to be among the most accessible and trusted of health care providers, they are in a unique position to allow OUD patients to have greater access to MAT.