Medication Assisted Therapy

Additional Information

Although Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) has been primarily used for the treatment of opioid use disorder, it can also be used for treating alcohol dependence. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA), MAT is the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders. Although MAT has been primarily used for the treatment of opioid use disorder, it is also used for alcohol use disorder and the treatment of some other substance use disorders. MAT involves the use of FDA approved medications that are designed to normalize brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions without the negative effects of the abused drug. 

Each year, the misuse of prescription drugs and other forms of opiates has costs taxpayers nearly $70 billion in healthcare cost, extra law enforcement, auto accidents, crime and lost employment.  It is a known fact that illicit drug use impedes education and employment; hurts families, businesses, and neighborhoods, and chokes the criminal justice, health and social service systems.  In addition, the stigma attached to substance abue increases severity of the probelm and to further compound the problem is the gap between those in need of substance use / mental health disorder treatment and available/affordable treatment.

In recent years, one of the most important advances in treating addiction has been the introduction of medication-assisted treatment.  Several new drugs have been introduced which can block or alleviate the physical effects of drug and alcohol dependence, including withdrawal.




Buprenorphine suppresses and reduces cravings for the abused drug. It can come in a pill form or sublingual tablet that is placed under the tongue.


Naltrexone works differently than methadone and buprenorphine in the treatment of opioid dependency. It also works in the treatment of alcohol dependency. If a person using naltrexone relapses and uses the abused drug, naltrexone blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of the abused drug and prevents feelings of euphoria. When used as a treatment for alcohol dependency, naltrexone blocks the euphoric effects and feelings of intoxication. This allows people with alcohol addiction to reduce their drinking behaviors enough to remain motivated to stay in treatment, avoid relapses, and take medications. Most importantly – IT IS NON-ADDICTIVE.

Medications for Tobacco Use Disorders:

There are three medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat tobacco use disorders (cigarette smoking). Nicotine replacement medications assist with reducing nicotine withdrawal symptoms including anger and irritability, depression, anxiety, and decreased concentration. Because nicotine delivered through chewing of gum containing nicotine, via transdermal patch, or in lozenges has a slower onset of action than does the systemic delivery of nicotine through smoked tobacco; these medications have little effect on craving for cigarettes. These medications are available over-the-counter. However, the nicotine inhaler and nasal spray deliver nicotine more rapidly to the brain and so are available only by prescription. Bupropion is a medication originally developed and approved as an antidepressant that was also found to help people to quit smoking. This medication can be used at the same dose for either cigarette smoking or depression treatment (or both). Varenicline is a nicotine partial agonist that reduces craving for cigarettes and has been helpful in smoking cessation for many. Bupropion and varenicline are prescription medications..

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What To Expect


Providing Services To The Community . . .

Bridging the Gap Services serves adult men and women who are insured, uninsured, or under-insured.  We accept self-referrals, referrals from the criminal justice system (attorneys, Division of Parole and Probation, Drug Court, and diversion programs), the Department of Social Services (child protection services), and referrals from other service providers. We also accept referrals from local hospitals and physicians. 

Getting Started Made Easy . . .

Give us a call at 240-318-5790 to begin the Intake and Admission Process . . . it is that simple!  Once the telephone screening process is complete, we will schedule you an appointment to complete an assessment.

This brief telephone screening will gather demographic information, substance use history, mental health history, and any past or current criminal justice involvement to determine the presence of a substance use disorder.  

Our Intake Assessment Process . . .

Bridging the Gap Services utilizes onsite licensed mental health providers and certified counselors to provide substance use disorder and mental health evaluations and treatment services.  The intake process is approximately 90-minutes, but can sometimes take a little longer (if necessary). 

Service recipient will complete a physical health evaluation to determine the degree of withdrawal symptoms.  An instant drug screen will be conducted to determine what drugs are in your body at the time of the evaluation.  The sample is then sent to our toxicology lab for confirmation and to obtain your baseline level of any drug or it's metabolite.


Our Treatment Process For Medication Assisted Therapy

What we have learned over the years is that even with medication assisted treatment, there is the potential for misuse or diversion of the medication.  

To ensure that medications used in the treatment of opioid dependence are not abused or misused, Bridging the Gap Services has several protocols in place.  These protocols help to determine your ability to self medicate.  The ultimate goal is to "Make sure people are using the medication as prescribed."

Medicated Assisted Treatment includes a comprehensive treatment plan that includes group and individual therapy, overdose prevention, and health and wellness education.  The counseling session are designed to help the service recipient change their addictive behaviors.  If a person is not trying to change their addictive behaviors while enrolled in pharmicotherapy, medicine alone will not work.