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Medication For Treating Opioid Use Disorder
What is it?
There are three FDA-approved medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD). Medications can be used in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies. Using MOUD is the most effective path to recovery and overdose prevention, and is considered the gold standard for treatment.
What are the forms?
Buprenorphine – reduces opioid cravings and blocks the effects of opioids.
Methadone – reduces opioid cravings and withdrawal and blocks the effects of opioids.
Naltrexone – blocks euphoric and sedative effects of opioids.
To learn more about medications for treating opioid use disorder, download the OpiRescue app and select Find Treatment -> Learn More.
“On these medications, people who use drugs can get back to their lives, hold jobs, care for their children and more.”
Dr. Lesley Brooks,
How it Can Help
There are no easy roads or guarantees for recovery from opioid use disorder. It takes time, commitment and, most importantly, support for the brain to recover from the chemical changes caused by long-term opioid use. Just as understanding the nature of someone’s addiction and experience is important to supporting their recovery, so is reducing their cravings for opioids. Through regimented medication, cravings to use opioids can be brought down to a manageable level as the brain gradually recovers.
Medication for treating opioid use disorder has helped countless people find recovery. Methadone and buprenorphine are opioids themselves, and as a result, using medications has taken an undeserved hit from critics who believe it’s simply trading one drug for another. However, Dr. Lesley Brooks points out, “When someone is engaged in treatment, the behaviors that define drug addiction fall by the wayside or significantly improve.” MOUD is safe and highly effective. It reduces withdrawal symptoms and decreases the likelihood that someone will return to opioid use. These medications also help people restore their functionality, improve their quality of life, and reintegrate into their family and communities.
As the stories of real Coloradans on this site will support, opioid addiction is a disease that needs long-term treatment and support, through recovery. For those ready to make the potentially life-saving decision to get help for opioid use disorder, it represents the best chance for recovery.
Finding and choosing treatment can feel overwhelming without knowing what it will cost. Medical insurance, including private insurance and Medicaid, can help cover the costs. Some treatment facilities receive grant funding to help cover the costs of treatment for folks who do not have insurance, or are underinsured. Treatment is affordable and there are no hidden costs. Many options are available to help people access treatment without debt or bills, and private insurance will often work with treatment facilities to get someone treatment even if they cannot afford it. If you are looking for treatment for someone who is involved in the criminal justice system, ask your probation officer and/or case worker if the probation office will pay for treatment, including inpatient care, because some of them are able to pay for treatment.
Determine what insurance your loved one has, as most treatment providers take private insurance. If they don’t have insurance, see if they are eligible for Medicaid and sign up. Most treatment programs take Medicaid and can help with the Medicaid application. Treatment centers oftentimes have grant funding to cover the cost of treatment for people who are uninsured or underinsured.
Call and speak with a treatment provider to determine costs and what is covered under your insurance. Treatment centers look at all the payment options until they find the one that works, because cost should never be a barrier to treatment.
Advocate for your loved one. Providers who receive funding from the State of Colorado often have funding to help people with the cost of treatment. The funding is dedicated to people who are not insured and whose household income is at or below 300% of the federal poverty level. You can use this calculator to determine if your loved one’s household income is below 300% FPL. There’s also a sliding scale for payment based on income.