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Medications for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder

FDA-approved medications that save lives and improve success rates while in treatment
Medications for the Treatment of Opioid Use Disorder
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Overview

OASAS has worked to increase access to medications used to treat opioid use disorder, also known as medication-assisted treatment. Medication-assisted treatment in combination with counseling and behavioral therapy is the preferred approach to treating individuals with opioid use disorder, though medications alone are still effective at preventing overdose death and improving health. Medication options for the treatment of opioid use disorder are FDA-approved and safe to use, even for women who pregnant or nursing. These medications include methadone and buprenorphine. Long-acting naltrexone injection (brand name: Vivitrol) is not approved for pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Medications to treat opioid use disorder are highly effective and proven to save lives, and are therefore the recommended standard of care for opioid use disorder.

 

How Medication Works

Medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder saves lives by curbing cravings and minimizing discomfort resulting from withdrawal. It also protects people from overdosing and reduces the chances of medical complications from opioid use, such as infectious diseases. When used in combination with psychological and behavioral therapy and supports, medication-assisted treatment decreases the likelihood of recurring use, increases engagement in treatment, and paves the way for recovery.
 

Opioid Treatment Programs

Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) are OASAS-and-federally-certified sites where medication to treat opioid use disorder is administered. In addition to medications, these programs also offer numerous services and supports, including but not limited to counseling, educational services, medical screening and care, mental health care, and referrals to social services. In most cases, patients receiving services at an OTP are provided with long-term treatment, similar to management of chronic physical ailments. Pregnant women and people who use intravenous drugs are given priority admission to OASAS-certified treatment programs including OTPs. 

An OTP is the only place where someone can get methadone to treat opioid use disorder. Other medications (buprenorphine and long-acting naltrexone injection) can be prescribed at other addiction treatment programs including clinics, as well as in other settings such as primary care and mental health clinics. 

Find Medication-Assisted Treatment

  • Search the OASAS program directory by program type/location to find a complete list Opioid Treatment Programs near you. 
  • The Treatment Availability Dashboard lists Opioid Treatment Programs with real-time availability in your area.
  • SAMSHA maintains a registry of all practitioners authorized to treat opioid dependency with buprenorphine in the U.S. You may also choose to search by practitioner using the SAMHSA's Buprenorphine Practitioner Locator

 

Hospitals and ERs

Federal law (DEA Diversion Control Division 72-hour exception) allows a physician to administer methadone or buprenorphine, once a day, for up to a 72-hour period, in the case of an emergency, while a connection to addiction treatment is made. 

In New York State, OASAS and the Department of Health have partnered to offer a waiver for hospitals to provide detoxification services without an OASAS-issued certification. If you or a loved one are denied access to medication-assisted treatment in a hospital emergency department, present them with the letter below to Hospital CEOs from OASAS and the Office of Primary Care and Health Systems Management.