Medication Assisted Treatment Reality Check

Summary and Analysis

Another report concerning Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) from a provider who has worked in addiction recovery for many years. In short, the MAT reality didn't match the promise and the reality was accompanied by withdrawal symptoms and diversion of Suboxone to the street.

Excerpted from RecoverySI

C. Scott McMillin, who has worked in addition treatment for 30 years, posted his observations of Suboxone in treatment. After initial optimism accompanying its introduction, the long term results were less clear. Excerpts from the post:

“As the months passed, however, staff noticed that withdrawal discomfort often reappeared once the buprenorphine was stopped. Even a slower 14 day taper didn’t prevent it. As you might expect, the vast majority relapsed shortly after discharge. In terms of a comfortable detox, Suboxone was a success. In terms of a return to opiate use, it was a failure.”

“So to my experienced (nonphysician) eye, it appeared that much of the benefit of Suboxone maintenance was in terms of harm reduction. Some patients did much better than that, others not so well. And it didn’t appear to be a reliable path if you hoped to someday get off opioids altogether. Even after a few years of success on maintenance, clients still experienced enormous difficulty tapering off.”