Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) is the use of medication combined with counseling and behavioral therapy to treat the whole patient of a substance use disorder. It’s an approach that’s been proven to be an effective treatment for substance use disorders and can even help people in recovery from an addiction. Unfortunately, MAT suffers from stigma, which acts as a barrier to successful treatment and recovery. In addition to supporting efforts to change how we talk about addiction in order to reduce stigma, we at Prevention Action Alliance also coordinated the Ohio MAT Awareness Project.
With funding from the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services, the Ohio MAT Awareness Project provided five community coalitions across the state of Ohio with the opportunity to utilize the strategic prevention framework to address stigma and increase awareness of Medication Assisted Treatment in their communities. The specific goals were to:
- Develop the core competencies and capabilities of participating community coalitions to increase awareness around MAT services.
- Assist coalitions in action planning specific to increasing awareness of MAT services.
- Strengthen the capacity and infrastructure of participating coalitions to utilize resources more efficiently and effectively.
- Educate and inform key community leaders on the benefits and effectiveness of MAT services.
This project combined on-site training, technical assistance and distance learning provided by trainers and evaluators from the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. And while the specific strategies for implementation were unique to each community, each community accomplished the above goals. Some of their projects resulted in:
- Reducing stigma and discrimination associated with MAT services.
- Increasing awareness and support of treatment services.
- Distributing resource guides to emergency room patients, including overdose survivors and their loved ones.
- An app that directs people to treatment and recovery services.
Scroll down to see video reports of each community’s project, the challenges they faced, and how they worked to address those challenges and educate their community leaders on MAT services.