Ask the Expert: Is MAT just moving from one drug to another?

A: Dr. James Berry

Is MAT just moving from one drug to another?

This is a common question that I’m asked by a variety of people ranging from patients, patients’ family members, other doctors, judges, etc. In most instances, I believe the motivation behind the question is a sincere desire to protect vulnerable people from harm. It seems counterintuitive that a doctor would give a patient with “a pill problem” a pill to solve the problem! Add to this the understandable distrust of pharmaceutical makers whose policies helped fuel our opioid epidemic and certainly engendered suspicion about medications in general.

However, my own experience using medications to treat addiction is that they prevent harm and foster wellbeing. This experience is supported by solid evidence demonstrating that people who are appropriately treated with FDA-approved medications for addiction have much better outcomes than those who are not. A sig