Medication Assisted Recovery

Recovery Literacy > Definitions of “Recovery” > Medication Assisted Recovery

For many individuals with an Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone are increasingly used as one pathway to recovery. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) has traditionally been excluded as recovery support in many recovery programs, given the tendency for operators to implement abstinence-based approaches that prohibit the use of psychoactive substances by residents.

  • The concept of MAR “Medication-Assisted Recovery” (the use of medication-assisted treatment as a means to reaching recovery goals) has emerged as a bridge between the distinct philosophies of abstinence-based and medication-assisted approaches.
  • Many individuals associated with mutual aid societies, including many recovery residences, have begun to transition toward MAR. This transition represents a significant shift in philosophy from traditional abstinence definitions. It also represents a significant shift in philosophy for those who espoused medication-assisted treatment, who often focused primarily on discontinuing the substance for which medications were used without regard for other psychoactive substance use (licit or illicit) that may have co-occurred.
  • While not everyone on MAT has recovery goals, such as being abstinence from non-prescribed medications, many do, and they deserve recovery support services that support them towards those goals.

Reflections: We invite you to reflect and journal on the following questions.