Weighing gains and losses

It is normal to want to stop using one day and then feel unsure or unable to do so the next. Quitting is tough and change does not happen overnight. It is also normal to have concerns about MAT. It is important to weigh the risks and the costs against the potential benefits.

The videos on this site show real people talking about their recovery and how they weighed the risks and benefits of MAT. You may find them helpful as you consider whether to use MAT to support your recovery.

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Risks and benefits

Health conditions

Your provider needs to know about all your health conditions and the drugs you use. Although all the medications involve some degree of risk, sharing this information can help you avoid harmful drug interactions and minimize other health risks. You and your primary care provider can go over the risks and benefits in light of your situation.

For complete information on medication risks and warnings, and FDA approved package inserts, visit:


Using medications safely

MAT involves taking powerful prescription drugs, storing them properly, following instructions carefully, and having patience to work with your provider to get the right dose.

All medications should be stored in a locked cabinet out of reach of children or pets. Doses tolerated in some individuals can cause serious harm to others, or even fatality to children or pets. Excess medication should be disposed of properly. Medications should only be taken by the person for whom they were prescribed. This brochure on Medication Safety Tips offers helpful guidance.


Access is an important issue for people thinking about starting MAT. Methadone is only available at state and federally regulated opioid treatment programs. Private physicians trained and certified to prescribe buprenorphine can offer office-based treatment for opioid use disorder. Any qualified medical professional can administer long-acting naltrexone injections or prescribe it in pill form.

How medications work

Some medications used in treatment are long-acting opioids that replace drugs of abuse and relieve withdrawal symptoms. They carry some risk of overdose, can be detected on drug screens, and have their own withdrawal symptoms when they are discontinued. The withdrawal can be gradual and medically managed by your doctor, but it can still be unpleasant.

Other medications block the effects of opioids and may help prevent relapse, but they do not help you through the initial withdrawal.

Sticking with it

Short-term use of MAT medications is sometimes helpful. But most people need to consider long-term treatment with medication in order to benefit.


What will I have to give up when I start treatment? Does entering recovery mean I have to give up my friends?