Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

  • Help is available to successfully overcome opioid addiction.
  • Research shows that, for some people, the integration of both behavioral and pharmacologic (medical) types of treatment is the most effective approach for overcoming opioid addiction.
  • A common misconception is that medications used in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) substitute one drug for another.
  • The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) provides a helpful fact sheet summarizing effective treatment options for opioid addiction.

Medications to Treat Opioid Addiction

There are three medications commonly used to treat opioid addiction. Check with your doctor on the right one for you.

Medications to Treat Opioid Addiction
HHS recommends various evidence-based treatment strategies to combat the opioid crisis.

Decisions in Recovery Tool
Web-based tool helps people living with opioid use disorder (OUD) compare treatment options and discuss their preferences with a provider.

Methadone
Clinic-based opioid agonist that does not block other narcotics while preventing withdrawal while taking it; daily liquid dispensed only in specialty regulated opioid treatment clinics

Buprenorphine
Office-based opioid agonist/antagonist that blocks other narcotics while reducing withdrawal risk; daily dissolving tablet, cheek film, or 6-month implant under the skin.

Naltrexone
Office-based non-addictive opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of other narcotics; daily pill or monthly injection.

Find Opioid Treatment Programs

Finding Quality Treatment for Substance Use Disorders
Guide for individuals seeking behavioral health treatment. It provides three necessary steps to complete prior to utilizing a treatment center and the five signs of a quality treatment center.

Use these tools to find treatment options in your area:

Insurance Coverage for Opioid Use Disorders

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) provides requirements for how insurance plans must cover mental health and/or substance use disorders.

Mental Health and Addiction Insurance Help
This tool helps consumers find the correct resource to solve Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder insurance coverage issues.

Medication-Assisted Treatment and Counseling: Insurance and Payments
Learn how buprenorphine and other medications used in medication-assisted treatment are covered under Medicare, Medicaid, and other forms of health insurance.

Medicaid Fact Sheet: Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Final Rule for Medicaid and CHIP
Fact sheet describes the rule that requires all beneficiaries who receive services through managed care organizations, alternative benefit plans, or CHIP be provided access to mental health and substance use disorder benefits that comply with parity standards.

Overdose Response Tools & Programs

If taken differently than prescribed, opioids can cause death by slowing, and eventually stopping, a person's breathing. However, quick response can prevent brain injury and death.

Opioid Overdose Reversal with Naloxone (Narcan, Evzio)
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) created an online resource to raise awareness about naloxone. It includes information on where to get naloxone.

Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit - Updated 2016
Toolkit for communities and local governments from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) includes material to develop policies and practices to help prevent opioid-related overdoses and deaths.

Law Enforcement Naloxone Toolkit
Toolkit for public safety officers provides basic information, resources, and guidance on using naloxone to treat opioid overdose. It includes resources to support establishing a naloxone program.

Prevent and Protect
Help for people to gain access to naloxone. Also provides tools for organizations conducting overdose prevention and naloxone advocacy, outreach, and communication campaigns.

Drug Overdose Immunity and Good Samaritan Laws
Policymakers are seeking solutions that will help curb use and overdose by expanding Good Samaritan immunity, and increasing naloxone access.

Naloxone Training Video from the Baltimore City Health Department
Video on the dangers of opioid misuse, symptoms to recognize an opioid overdose, and a demonstration of how to assemble a naloxone kit and how to administer naloxone intranasally. For additional information visit http://dontdie.org/

FDA’s Naloxone App Prize Competition Celebrates Innovation In Search of Technological Solutions to the Opioid Epidemic
FDA launched this competition to develop innovative solutions to the problem of how to rapidly connect naloxone carriers to a person experiencing an opioid overdose.

Criminal Justice Drug Treatment Services

  • Drug courts help participants recover from use disorder with the aim of reducing future criminal activity.
  • As an alternative to incarceration, drug courts reduce the burden and costs of repeatedly processing low‐level, non‐violent offenders through the nation's courts, jails, and prisons while providing offenders an opportunity to receive treatment and education.
  • Drug court participants are required to abstain from substance use, to be accountable for their behavior and to fulfil the legal responsibilities of the offenses they have committed.

Drug Courts
Specialized court docket programs that help criminal defendants and offenders, juvenile offenders, and parents with pending child welfare cases who have alcohol and other drug dependency problems.

Adult Drug Courts and Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Opioid Dependence
This guide highlights the use of MAT for opioid dependence in drug courts. It reviews effective medications and provides strategies to increase the use of MAT in drug court programs.

Resources for Opioid Treatment Providers

Federal Guidelines for Opioid Treatment Programs
A manual for the operation of opioid treatment programs (OTPs). This guidance covers patient assessment, treatment planning, medication-assisted treatment (methadone and buprenorphine), overdose and relapse prevention, and recovery care.

Apply for Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) Certification
Certification is required to dispense medications for the treatment of substance use disorders.

  • Submit an Opioid Treatment Exception Request
    There are federal standards for the administration and management of opioid treatment. Any deviation from the opioid treatment standards requires the submission and approval of an exception request.

Training Materials and Provider Resources for Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Collection of training materials and data for medical professionals including OTP certification application information and other resources on MAT.

TIP 63: Medications for Opioid Use Disorders
Guidance for healthcare professionals and addiction treatment providers on appropriate prescribing practices for the treatment of OUD. TIP 63 also educates patients, families, and the general public about how OUD medications work and the benefits they offer.

Clinical Guidance for Treating Pregnant and Parenting Women With Opioid Use Disorder and Their Infants
This guidance publication supports practitioners in addressing the needs of pregnant women with opioid use disorders and their infants and families.

Narcotic Treatment Programs Best Practice Guideline
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) presents best practices for each aspect of narcotic treatment programs (NTPs) to assist in complying with existing laws and regulations. Topics include ordering medication, dispensing medication, recordkeeping, and security measures.

Quick Guide: Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction in Opioid Treatment Programs (TIP 43)
Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) for clinicians on using MAT in opioid treatment programs. Covers screening, pharmacology of five medications, pharmacotherapy, phases of treatment, drug testing, patients with special needs, and administrative issues. Related resources:

Implementing Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Rural Primary Care: Environmental Scan
The purpose of this environmental scan was to explore the unique factors associated with implementing MAT in rural primary care settings and the availability of necessary tools.