Millions of people in the United States are
struggling with a dependence on opioids. And this problem continues to grow. Opioid use disorder is often viewed as a moral failing. In reality, it’s actually a chronic disease
like diabetes or asthma. And like other chronic diseases, opioid use disorders can be treated. The most effective therapy is medication-assisted treatment, or M.A.T. which combines drugs with behavioral therapy. So how does M.A.T. work? Opioids alter the chemistry of the brain
by attaching to opioid receptors. When these drugs attach to their receptors,
they reduce the perception of pain. That’s Dr. Peggy Compton who’s done research
on opioid use for NIH. And a person with opioid use disorder is physically dependent on these drugs and needs higher and higher doses overtime, which can lead to overdose or even death. Fortunately, there are FDA-approved drugs
can help. They curb cravings and block the effects of opioids. People are then better able to manage their disease which can help prevent relapse. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, medication-assisted treatments have been shown to facilitate recovery from substance use disorders and prevent relapse. M.A.T. is crucial to long-term recovery and
helps people live healthier, more productive lives.