Medication-Assisted Treatment at East Coast Recovery Center

Just 20 minutes outside of Boston in Cohasset, Massachusetts, is where recovery awaits you. Our goal at East Coast Recovery Center is to help those struggling with a substance use disorder to succeed in recovery and life. Every person's path to recovery is unique, just as substance abuse treatment strategies must be. If you or a loved one could benefit from learning more about our medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program, or any other treatment plans or services we offer, contact us today. We look forward to your call.

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In 2020, more than 2,000 people in Massachusetts died from an opioid overdose – more than ever before. Massachusetts is suffering from an exponential increase in opioid-related substance use disorder, overdose deaths, and people seeking substance use treatment, due to the use of prescription opioids, fentanyl, and heroin.

At East Coast Recovery Center in Cohasset MA, if we can change just one person’s life, lessening the statistic above, it’s a win for us, your family, and your life.

What Is Medication Assisted Treatment?

The general idea behind a medication-assisted treatment program is to give the patient controlled doses of medication in a safe way to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings for the abused opioid drug.

Medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse is a whole-patient approach to treatment, so it isn’t simply a matter of giving the addicted individual medication. MAT is combined with behavioral therapy to help the patient discover how to break the cycle of addiction. Other treatments often combined with MAT include group therapy sessions, 12-step treatment programs, individual counseling services, and family therapy. This can be done through the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) or a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP).

Treatment facilities should be certified to treat patients using MAT, and the medication used is FDA-approved. 

When Is Medication Assisted Treatment Necessary?

Because no single drug addiction treatment is appropriate for every person, the determination of when MAT is necessary should be made by those in charge of treatment. Often, medication-assisted treatment is used for patients addicted to opioids or prescription pain relievers, although this type of treatment option may sometimes be available for addiction to other drugs.

Commonly Used Medications for Drug Rehab Treatment

Some common approved drugs used in medication-assisted treatment for substance abuse include:


Buprenorphine is a medication used to treat those with an addiction disorder that attaches to the same receptors in the brain as addictive opioid drugs, so the opioids cannot attach themselves there. This reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings without causing an associated high as long as the drug is taken as prescribed. The prescribing treatment provider physician monitors buprenorphine use and tapers off the dose over time.


Naltrexone is clinically effective in blocking access to the brain receptors that opioid drugs use. Because naltrexone doesn’t attach to the receptors directly, it doesn’t cause any of the effects that opioids do, so there is no high associated with this medication and naltrexone is not considered addictive.


Suboxone is a blend of two medications, buprenorphine and naloxone. Suboxone works by both attaching directly to the receptors and blocking them so opioids can’t reach them and will not affect brain chemistry.

How Long Does Medication-Assisted Treatment Last?

The length of MAT depends on the individual’s substance use disorder and underlying causes. Some people need medication-assisted treatment to get through the intense symptoms of withdrawal and can move into more therapy-based interventions afterward. For others who enter treatment, MAT lasts longer, particularly if the individual has previous issues with relapses.

In most cases, the doctor in a treatment center devises a tapered schedule for weaning the person off the medication over a few months once the intense withdrawal symptoms have subsided.

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The Effectiveness of Medication-Assisted Treatment Program

Medication-assisted treatment for opioid abuse tends to be fairly effective. In fact, medication-assisted treatment combining an FDA-approved medication and psychotherapy has been shown to be more effective than behavioral therapy or medication when used alone.

MAT helps by:

  • Reducing psychological cravings
  • Help normalize body functions
  • Significantly reduce withdrawal symptoms during the early phases of detox and recovery process
  • Letting the recovering individual focus on developing long-term strategies for sobriety instead of on managing withdrawal symptoms
  • Reducing the risk of opioid overdose and death
  • Improving treatment programs’ compliance

How Medication-Assisted Treatment Works

Before MAT can begin, the treatment center team consults with the team physician to determine whether medication-assisted treatment is appropriate and which medicine to use. The person begins taking the drug after stopping opioid use completely and once mild withdrawal symptoms have begun.

Medication is typically prescribed in stages:

  • During the first stage, the induction stage, the physician establishes how much of the medicine is needed based on a person’s drug dependence problem, so the dose might change based on the person’s biological response to the medication.
  • In the second stage, stabilization, the physician of the rehab center determines the minimum dose needed to prevent severe withdrawal symptoms and monitors the patient to watch for any side effects. Dose adjustments are made as needed in your healing journey, but during the stabilization phase, the basic dose remains fairly consistent.
  • During maintenance, patients continue to take a steady prescribed dose on a regular basis while doing other treatment programs.
  • Once treatment is near the end, there is a tapering phase during which the doctor reduces the dose gradually until the person no longer needs the medication to live a sober lifestyle and achieve success.

Potential Issues with MAT

While medication-assisted treatment offers specific benefits for treating opioid abuse and addiction disorders, there are a few potential drawbacks. Some of the medications used for treatment cause side effects that could be unpleasant. Some also may have the potential for addiction themselves, which is why it’s essential for a doctor with extensive experience to supervise the use of medication during drug abuse treatment. Someone who has been in medication-assisted treatment may develop a lowered tolerance to the addictive drug, which could increase the risk of an overdose if a relapse should occur.

Contact East Coast Recovery Center To Learn More About MAT

Medication-assisted treatment offers an effective option for breaking free of opioid addiction, but MAT only works if used as part of an overall holistic opioid addiction treatment plan. In addition to MAT, the recovering individual should also receive counseling and aftercare services to ensure long-term recovery from drug abuse. 

If you believe you or a loved one is in need of MAT services to aid in your addiction recovery, contact East Coast Recovery Center today at (617) 390-8349

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