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Medication Assisted Treatment in Drug Courts Recommended Strategies

Posted 11/21/2019 (updated 3/28/2024)

This report is designed to help drug court practitioners understand medication assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid addiction and to provide strategies for incorporating MAT into their practice. The report’s information about different MAT models can serve as a resource for courts that currently permit MAT as well as those considering it. Though based on the experience of courts in New York State, the report’s recommendations are not state specific and can be applied to courts around the country.

MAT involves the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. When used to treat opioid addiction, MAT stabilizes brain chemistry, blocks the euphoric effects of opioids (the “high”), relieves physiological cravings, and normalizes body functions. Numerous studies have shown that MAT reduces illicit drug use, disease rates, overdose, mortality, and criminal behavior.