Jun 29, 2021

What is Medication Assisted Treatment?


If you’ve been struggling with an opiate addiction, chances are you’ve heard of medication assisted treatment. Maybe you know someone who utilized a program of medication assisted treatment in the form of methadone, buprenorphine, or vivitrol. When used in combination with other recovery supports, medication assisted treatment has been proven to drastically improve the lives of those living with opiate use disorder. It enables individuals to manage their disease in the care and company of professionals and take back control of their lives. At RNP, we have two medication assisted treatment clinics located in Bridgeport and Stratford, both with a dedicated and knowledgeable staff.

So, what is methadone?

Methadone is a long-acting synthetic opioid drug.  As a full agonist, it fills up the same receptors in the brain as other opioid drugs and our own endorphins. When methadone is taken how it is intended, it should not produce a high, rather it aids in controlling cravings for opioid drugs.   

Since it is long acting, it can prevent the onset of withdrawal for 24 to 36 hours. Once a stable dose of methadone is properly administered, people should feel “normal” and balanced.   However, methadone has the potential to be abused if not taken properly.  Side effects can include constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, impaired cognition, impaired coordination, dry mouth (which can lead to teeth issues if not addressed).  Overdose on methadone is a risk if it not taken as prescribed under medical supervision.  

What is buprenorphine? (Commonly known as Suboxone)

Buprenorphine is a semi-synthetic opioid drug.  It is a partial agonist which delivers doses of buprenorphine as well as naloxone to curb the effects of addiction and withdrawal.  

-Like methadone, it is a proven therapy for opioid dependence.  The buprenorphine triggers the opioid receptors only partially, which means the opportunity for abuse is lessened.  The other active ingredient is naloxone, which limits the potential for nasal/intravenous abuse.  Buprenorphine is taken orally in strips and dissolves under the tongue. 

-Doses of buprenorphine vary according to the individual’s substance use. The risk of a fatal overdose or addiction on buprenorphine is possible, but much less likely. Side effects include muscle aches, nausea, insomnia, irritability. Using other opioids while on Suboxone can have serious side effects including mood swings, insomnia, cramping, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, sweating, and other withdrawal symptoms.  

What is vivitrol?

Vivitrol is a once monthly injection and opioid blocker, It is a non-addictive narcotic alternative administered by a healthcare provider. Unlike methadone and buprenorphine, Vivitrol requires opioid detox of 7–14 days prior to the start of treatment. Like methadone and buprenorphine, it is used in combination with counseling and other recovery supports. For more information, visit the Vivitrol website here

At Kinsella Treatment Center (link this to KTC page) in Bridgeport and Center for Human Services (link this to CHS page) in Stratford, our programs include the following supports to aid in the medication assisted treatment process:

  • One on one counseling 
  • Group counseling
  • Family sessions
  • IOP 
  • Recovery Coaching 
  •   Psych Services 
  •   Primary Care 
  •   Ryan White Services 
  • Referrals and coordination with other agency programs for higher levels of care

Medication assisted treatment is not replacing one drug for another, a common misconception. It is a life-saving method for those struggling with the merry-go-round of opiate addiction. Street opiates are now more lethal than ever with the rise of fentanyl and carfentanil, claiming the lives of those we love daily. If you are considering treatment, please give us a call today for an intake. And if you are a family member, you are welcome to reach out on your loved one’s behalf, and take a look at this great pamphlet provided by DMHAS to better understand medicated assisted treatment for your loved one.


Kinsella Treatment Center 

1862 State Street Extension

Bridgeport CT 06605



Center for Human Services

2 Research Drive, Stratford, CT 06615



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