This is a brief guide to medication assisted treatment (MAT) or pharmacotherapy for opioid dependence and addiction for everyday people who are dependent or concerned they might be dependent on opioids including pain medications (such as codeine, morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl) and drugs that are usually illegal (such as heroin and opium).
Opioid dependence and addiction can be treated with medication. This is often referred to as pharmacotherapy or medication-assisted treatment (MAT). When someone with an opioid dependence or addiction begins MAT, a doctor prescribes them slow-acting opioids that reduce cravings, prevent withdrawal and reduce the risk of overdose. This will usually be medications called methadone and buprenorphine but it may include others, such as slow-release oral morphine.
MAT is a very effective treatment for people who are dependent on, or addicted to, opioids. This handbook provides an overview of MAT to support those considering treatment options.