The opiate crisis is gripping America and is a true public health emergency. The evidence for all forms of medication assisted treatment (MAT)–including buprenorphine, methadone, naltrexone injection, and narcan–is that they save lives. Relapse rates for opiate addiction are very high without MAT and often leads to overdose and death. MAT can help prevent these bad outcomes in most cases.
The traditional alcohol model of sobriety does not apply to opiate addiction. Individuals who have achieved sobriety from alcohol should be celebrated, yet that model does not apply to the opiate crisis. MAT saves lives. People may need to be on MAT for years or even decades, while some can taper off. This is a decision that should be between the prescriber and patient and should not be artificially limited by misinformed attitudes or by government or health insurance regulation.