Sharon M. Joyce Director
- Understanding Medication-Assisted Treatment (“MAT”)
- Questions about Coverage for Treatment
- Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Programs—Find a Program Near You
Understanding Medication-Assisted Treatment
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of FDA approved medications, combined with counseling and behavioral therapies, to treat opioid use disorders. MAT is intended to assist people in reducing or stopping their use of heroin or other opiates. There are three FDA approved drugs for the treatment of opioid use disorder: methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. All three formulations are safe and effective, and the duration of treatment varies among patients. There are multiple FDA approved methadone and buprenorphine products, and one FDA approved naltrexone product. Each of the three drugs is administered in different ways.
- Methadone is a long-acting opioid medication which is available in the form of a pill, liquid or injectable, and is administered once a day. It has been shown to reduce cravings and the symptoms of opiate withdrawal, and prevents the user from experiencing the euphoric effects of opiate drugs; it has shown to be effective in retaining heroin users in treatment. Methadone may only be dispensed through a structured clinic called an opioid treatment program (“OTP”).
- Buprenorphine is also a long-acting (partial) opioid medication which is available in the form of a film, sublingual tablet, once monthly injectable or an implant under the skin, and works similarly to methadone to diminish cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Buprenorphine may be prescribed or dispensed in physician offices and other settings (other than OTP’s), as federally authorized.
- Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioids by binding to opioid receptors, but unlike methadone and buprenorphine, it is not an opioid. Naltrexone is available in a pill form or a once monthly injectable. A patient is required to abstain from opioids for a minimum of 7-10 days prior to initiation of treatment.
All medications used in MAT are intended to part of a comprehensive treatment plan that incorporates counseling and social support. To learn more about MAT and how it is used in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, go to https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/.
Questions about Coverage for Treatment
If you have insurance, and need assistance navigating coverage for your treatment options, 211 has a Benefits Verification hotline, which will assist you in obtaining coverage information from your insurance carrier. NJ Connect 855-652-3737 is an advocacy organization that has insurance specialists to answer your questions about private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare coverage. NJ Connect can guide you as to questions to ask your insurance provider, your treatment provider, and your rights with respect to insurance. If you are uninsured or underinsured, NJ Connect can connect you with state funded treatment programs.
Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Programs—Find a Program Near You
Both residential and non-residential treatment facilities for substance abuse treatment are located throughout the state. These facilities are licensed by the Department of Human Services, and you may search a directory of licensed agencies by county at https://njsams.rutgers.edu and click on Treatment Directory. Services are available for both adults and adolescents, and treatment options include withdrawal management, intensive outpatient, outpatient, short term residential, long term residential, partial care, halfway house, and medication assisted treatment.
To locate substance use treatment in New Jersey, you may call 1 844 REACHNJ (1 844-732-2465) for immediate assistance and a referral to the appropriate providers. REACHNJ refers adults without insurance to IME Addictions Access Center; the “IME” (Interim Managing Entity) is the central state resource run through Rutgers Behavioral Health that assists individuals in locating appropriate care for substance use disorders, including opioid abuse.
If you need help and you are over 19 years old, and you are uninsured or have Medicaid, you may also contact IME directly at 1-844-276-2777 for assistance in locating the appropriate level of care.
211 refers minors ages 19 and under to Perform Care-NJ Children’s System of Care at 1-877-652-7624, or you may call Perform Care directly. Perform Care is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year to provide minors with referrals to treatment for substance use treatment, as well as other behavioral health services.
To search treatment facilities for substance abuse and/or mental health nationally, go to www.SAMHSA.gov and click on their treatment services locator.
 OTP’s are certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (“SAMSHA”), and accredited by an independent SAMSHA approved accrediting body; they are also registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration and licensed by the State of New Jersey, through the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, in the Department of Human Services.