medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in New Jersey

An Overview of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in New Jersey

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an evidence-based approach used to treat substance use disorders (SUDs), particularly for addictions to opioids (such as heroin and prescription painkillers) or alcohol. MAT involves the use of FDA-approved medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to address addiction.

Medications used in MAT for opioid addiction treatment may include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. These medications work by blocking the effects of opioids and helping stabilize brain chemistry. For alcohol use disorder, medications like naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram may be prescribed.

The medications used in MAT are most effective when combined with counseling and behavioral therapies, addressing both the physiological and psychological aspects of addiction. Medications are prescribed by healthcare professionals and should be administered as part of a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to the individual’s needs.

The goal of MAT is not just to replace one addictive substance with another but to help individuals manage their addiction, reduce the risk of relapse, and improve their quality of life.

Understanding the Need for Medication-Assisted Treatment

Addiction is a complex disease that requires a multifaceted approach to treatment. Recovery is not solely a matter of willpower; it involves addressing changes in brain function and providing the necessary support to facilitate recovery. Not only that, but getting sober is incredibly difficult, and between the painful withdrawal symptoms and persistent cravings, many people end up relapsing.

Rates of addiction and overdose have only increased in recent years, causing healthcare professionals and addiction specialists to advocate for more comprehensive approaches to treatment. One of the most effective solutions that has come about is MAT.

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is crucial in addressing substance use disorders (SUDs) because it combines medications with counseling and behavioral therapies to provide a comprehensive approach to recovery. It’s particularly beneficial for individuals struggling with opioid or alcohol addiction.

The Benefits of MAT for Addiction

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) offers numerous benefits in addressing substance use disorders (SUDs). Some of the key advantages include:

  • Reduced Cravings and Withdrawal – MAT helps alleviate the intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping substance use, making it easier for individuals to manage and maintain their recovery.
  • Lowered Risk of Relapse – By reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms, MAT significantly decreases the risk of relapse, increasing the likelihood of sustained recovery.
  • Normalization of Brain Function – MAT medications work to restore balance to brain chemistry disrupted by substance abuse, aiding in the normalization of brain function, and helping individuals regain control over their behaviors and thoughts.
  • Improved Treatment Retention – Individuals undergoing MAT often show improved retention in treatment programs compared to those solely undergoing behavioral therapy. This increased engagement enhances the chances of successful recovery.
  • Decreased Health Risks – MAT can reduce the risk of infectious diseases, particularly in the case of opioid addiction, by discouraging behaviors like needle sharing. It can also improve birth outcomes in mothers who are pregnant while addicted to opioids.
  • Comprehensive, Whole-Person Approach – MAT is designed to be combined with counseling and behavioral therapies, providing a holistic approach to treatment that addresses both the physiological and psychological aspects of addiction.
  • Enhanced Quality of Life – MAT can lead to improved social functioning, better employment prospects, and overall improved quality of life for individuals in recovery.

Successful treatment often involves a tailored approach that considers the specific needs, preferences, and medical history of each patient.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) Programs in New Jersey: What to Expect

A New Jersey MAT program may involve the following aspects of care.

Intake and Assessment

Upon entering a Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) program in New Jersey, individuals can expect a comprehensive intake process. This involves a thorough assessment conducted by healthcare professionals to understand the patient’s medical history, addiction severity, mental health status, and other relevant factors. The assessment helps in tailoring a personalized treatment plan suited to the individual’s specific needs.

During intake, expect to provide information about substance use history, previous treatment experiences, any co-occurring mental health conditions, and current medications. This evaluation assists healthcare providers in determining the most appropriate course of action for one’s treatment.

Individualized Care

MAT programs in New Jersey prioritize individualized care. Once the assessment is complete, a customized treatment plan is developed, taking into account the specific substance addiction, medical history, and personal goals for recovery. This plan typically combines medication with counseling and behavioral therapies to address both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction.

Medication Management

A core component of MAT involves medication management, wherein individuals receive FDA-approved medications to assist in managing cravings, reducing withdrawal symptoms, or blocking the effects of certain substances. These medications, administered under medical supervision, aim to stabilize brain function and support the recovery process.

During medication management, medical professionals closely monitor the effectiveness of the medication, adjust dosages as needed, and ensure its compatibility with the individual’s overall treatment plan. Regular check-ins and assessments help track progress and make necessary modifications to optimize the treatment’s effectiveness.


MAT programs in New Jersey prioritize aftercare to support individuals beyond the initial treatment phase. After completing the primary treatment phase, patients transition into aftercare programs designed to maintain and reinforce the progress made during MAT. Aftercare may involve continued medication management, counseling, sober living, support groups, alumni programs, and more.

Find Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) in New Jersey

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, MAT may be right for you. To learn more about MAT or to discuss your various treatment options, please contact our team at The Living Room at Princeton today.

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