MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment)

Treatment is Effective

To find MAT program or provider, click here.

Opioid addiction is a chronic disease, like heart disease or diabetes that can’t be cured, but it can be managed to help a person with addiction regain a healthy, productive life. People can’t just walk away from addiction – they need help.

Treatment helps people stop using the problem drug and helps people address life issues they may have tied to the addiction, such as feelings of low self-worth, a bad home or work situation or spending time with people who use drugs.
It helps them get through withdrawal and cope with cravings and regain a normal state of mind.


Just as important, treatment helps people address life issues they might have that are tied to the addiction, such as feelings of low self-worth, a bad situation at work or home, or spending time with people who use drugs.

What is Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Tailored to meet each person’s needs, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medications, in combination with counseling to treat opioid addiction such as prescription pain relievers and heroin. The prescribed medication operates to normalize brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions without the negative effects of the abused drug.

Research shows that a combination of medication and therapy can successfully treat these disorders, and for some people struggling with addiction, MAT can help sustain recovery and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This treatment approach has been shown to:

  • Improve patient survival
  • Increase retention in treatment
  • Decrease illicit opiate use and other criminal activity among people with substance use disorders
  • Increase patients' ability to gain and maintain employment
  • Improve birth outcomes among women who have substance use disorders and are pregnant

Taking medication for opioid addiction is like taking medication to control heart disease or diabetes. It is NOT the same as substituting one addictive drug for another and taken properly, does NOT create a new addiction.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder is a treatment approach that combines counseling with prescribed medications and other recovery supports.

Research has shown that using MAT can increase an individual's chances of recovery because it combines multiple treatments to meet multiple needs.

MAT is also considered the recommended approach by the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA); the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), and many more.

Studies have also shown that the longer people stay in MAT recovery programs, the more successful they are in achieving and maintaining sobriety. By combining medications, therapy, and other social, vocational, and resource supports, MAT helps people make changes that help them get the life they want.

To watch testimonials of clients who have used MAT, or learn more about it, click here.

What are the medications involved in MAT?

The medications that have been approved for MAT are methadone, buprenorphine, extended release naltrexone, and naloxone. These medications help reduce cravings and/or manage withdrawal symptoms, and allow people to break free from the cycle of use.

To read more about approved medications for treating opioid addiction, click

To compare these medications you can click here.

How do I get into a MAT program? NOTE:

The medications that have approved for MAT must be prescribed by a doctor who is trained and certified to work with these specific medications. There are many MAT-based programs and trained professionals throughout the state of New Mexico that can talk with you about your options and help you decide the medication that is right for you.

Some people may choose to attend a program that provides the medications, therapy, and other recovery supports under one roof. Others may choose to get the multiple services of MAT separately. This might mean seeing one provider for medications, and seeing a therapist or counselor separately. Attending 12-step groups, peer support groups, or even participating in an intensive outpatient program are recovery supports that can also be included within MAT.

To search for a MAT program or provider, click here.