Opioid Use Disorder | Medication-Assisted Treatment

MaineHealth shares your concerns about how the opioid epidemic is affecting our communities. Here you will find information about opioid use disorder, resources for patients and families to stay safe and alternative ways to treat pain. If you have any questions about the use of opioids in your medical care, please do not hesitate to ask your health care provider. 

What are opioids?

Opioids are medicines that may be prescribed to treat medium-to-severe pain of any type. They lessen the feeling of pain, but do not treat the injury causing the pain. 

What is Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)?

OUD is a chronic (or constant) brain disease that some people can get from taking opioids often. This type of disease leads to craving opioids, not being able to stop using opioids, and can cause major life problems.

What is Integrated Medication-Assisted Treatment (IMAT)?

IMAT combines talk therapy (either individual or group counseling) with medicines that can control cravings and lessen withdrawal symptoms. The medicines help a person feel normal again so they can focus on therapy and help rebuild their life. This therapy can continue as long as medically needed. The medicines that are used are:

  • Buprenorphine (pronounced byoo-pre-nor-feen), also called suboxone
  • Methadone (available only at a methadone clinic)
  • Naltrexone (nal-trek-sohn)

The IMAT program helps patients get the care they need, close to home. Patients who need intensive services can get care by providers with special addiction training. More stable patients can get their IMAT treatment at primary care offices by doctors and behavioral health clinicians. If a patient’s condition worsens, they can switch back to intensive care for more help until they become healthier and ready to return to receiving care at a primary care office.