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Opioid Awareness

5 Ways to Find the Best Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Photo: Courtesy of Dylan McLeod

Elinore F. McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Secretary, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

More than two million Americans have a disease called opioid addiction (or opioid use disorder) that affects the brain and body. It’s a chronic disease, like diabetes or heart disease. Just like with other treatable chronic diseases, there are medications and therapies that can reduce symptoms, help you or a family member return to normal life, reduce the chance of relapse and make recovery possible.

In fact, many people are in recovery from opioid addiction. Finding a quality treatment program and provider is an important first step in achieving recovery, so it is critical to do some research before choosing the program that is right for you.

Here are five things to look for in a quality opioid addiction treatment program:

1. Is it accredited, licensed or certified by the state?

State licenses and certifications mean you can count on quality, safe care.

2. Does it offer medications for opioid addiction?

Three U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medications — methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone — are used to successfully treat opioid use disorders. Quality programs will offer these medications.

3. Does it use treatments that are proven to work?

For example, we know from the latest scientific studies that medication-assisted treatment, or MAT — which combines medications with behavioral counseling — is effective in treating opioid use disorder. Be sure to choose a program that offers proven treatments.

4. Does it include family and friends in the treatment process?

Opioid addiction affects the whole family. Finding a program that involves family and friends improves the chances for recovery.

5. Does it provide long-term treatment and support?

The best treatment programs provide ongoing treatment for this chronic disease as well as help with other needs beyond the person’s addiction, like sober housing and employment assistance.

Remember: getting into treatment as quickly as possible is key to successful recovery. Look for programs that can quickly screen you or a family member and get you or your loved one into treatment within 48 hours of contacting them.

Take the first step. Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit SAMHSA’s online Behavioral Health Treatment Locator to find treatment programs and providers nationwide.

Elinore F. McCance-Katz, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Secretary, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, [email protected]

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