mat program

Treatment for opioid and alcohol addiction often includes medical detoxification and medication-assisted treatment. Vertava Health Massachusetts offers both of these at our sprawling campus in Cummington.

Overcoming addiction is difficult and can be incredibly complex. Attempting to stop using drugs or alcohol without treatment can become part of a vicious cycle that can strengthen the severity of the addiction. With the help of a professional treatment program, individuals can break free from the toxicity of addiction and live healthier, fulfilling lives.

Vertava Health Massachusetts offers medication-assisted treatment as part of the quality substance use treatment provided in Cummington, Massachusetts. This effective form of treatment allows adult women and men to manage cravings, compulsions, and withdrawal of substance use and addiction.

Medical Detoxification

The first step in your journey to starting substance use disorder treatment is detoxing from the harmful substance you were addicted to. Our physician-supervised staff will stand by you through this trying time, 24/7, offering you compassionate support so that you progress through detox as comfortably and as safely as possible. Our clinicians will also aid you in fighting off the cravings that can threaten your pursuit of a drug-free life. Detox not only places a burden on your body and brain but on your emotional and mental standing as well; our staff will continuously monitor these states.

At times, you may feel very overwhelmed or experience anxiety, which is one reason why seeking a medically-supervised treatment is so essential. In addition to providing medical support, we have counselors standing by that can offer you distractions, provide you with companionship during this daunting time, and address any worries you might have, while in turn preparing you for the next step. At our detox facility, we aim to make this process as painless as possible by providing as much support as we can. Our compassionate medical professionals will be with you every step of the way.

Sometimes, in more severe instances, and specifically with drugs like strong opioids and alcohol, certain medications may be used to help you better transition through the withdrawal period.

What Is A Medication Assisted Treatment Program?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines medication-assisted treatment (MAT) as the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.1

In 2018, an estimated 2 million people had an opioid use disorder which included prescription pain medications and heroin. The clinical effectiveness of medication-assisted treatment has been proven and can significantly decrease the need for detoxification services for certain individuals facing issues with opioid addiction. 

Medications prescribed during MAT programs work to normalize brain chemistry, block the euphoric effects of alcohol and opioids, relieve physiological cravings, and normalize body functions without the negative and euphoric effects of the substance used.

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The main purpose of MAT programs is to create an individually-tailored treatment plan composed of both medication and behavioral therapy. The more this plan is able to take into account the particular circumstances of a person’s addiction, the more likely the plan is to succeed.

Our medication-assisted treatment program at Vertava Health Massachusetts offers an Ativan tapering method for alcohol addiction and Suboxone, Vivitrol, and methadone for opioid addiction.

Ativan Tapering

Alcohol dependence and addiction result in significant brain changes, specifically the decrease in GABA levels and GABA receptor sensitivity. When a person stops drinking alcohol, the nervous system becomes hyperactive and can result in painful withdrawal, seizures, and even death. 

Introducing Ativan during alcohol withdrawal prevents the nervous system from becoming hyperactive, stopping withdrawal symptoms before they get out of hand.

Ativan is in a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, often referred to as “benzos.” These drugs are commonly used to treat alcoholism and alcohol withdrawal symptoms. They are typically administered in tablet form but are sometimes injected in liquid form.

During the early periods of treatment, a relatively high dose of Ativan may be used to help curb withdrawal symptoms and reduce the craving to drink. Gradually, the amount of Ativan is reduced using a method referred to as tapering. This gradual reduction allows a person to shift from having an alcohol-dependent brain to a brain in recovery without intense withdrawal.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms that Ativan can help reduce and treat include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Aggravation and irritability
  • Chills and sweats
  • Seizures

Suboxone Treatment

Suboxone is a sublingual film (dissolves under the tongue) that contains buprenorphine and naloxone, two medications approved for the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD).


Buprenorphine is a partial agonist and decreases the effects of opioids, reducing withdrawals and cravings. It works in a similar way to full agonist opioids, like heroin and morphine, but with weaker effects.

Buprenorphine has a low risk of abuse because no matter how much you take, it can only reach a certain point in the body before it levels off, in what is referred to as a “ceiling effect”. This lowers the risk of abuse and dependency.


Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, which means it blocks the effects of opioids. It is only activated in the body if it is injected into the bloodstream. This means if Suboxone is dissolved under the tongue, as prescribed, naloxone has no effect.

Naloxone that has been injected into the bloodstream will cause an immediate reversal of all opioids in the body, resulting in painful withdrawal symptoms. Naloxone acts as a deterrent for individuals who may consider abusing Suboxone.

Suboxone is intended to offer relief from opioid withdrawal for individuals attempting to stop abusing opioids. The two medications combined, work to treat the symptoms and prevent misuse of this MAT medication.

These are complex and sophisticated treatment methods that have been developed over decades. We’ve compiled some frequently asked questions regarding the use of Suboxone in our MAT programs.

How long can Suboxone relieve symptoms of withdrawal?

Suboxone is generally administered once every 24 hours. Once ingested, Suboxone generally takes effect after about 3-4 hours and can provide relief from symptoms for up to 3 days depending on a number of factors. How long it takes to fully take effect can depend on a person’s weight, metabolic rate, and history of drug abuse. The amount of time it takes to metabolize Suboxone can be affected by an abnormally functioning liver as well. After ceasing Suboxone treatment, it can take up to 5 days for the effects of withdrawal to be felt.

How long does Suboxone block the effects of opioid use?

Suboxone’s effects of blocking opioid receptors generally lasts for about 24 hours. This, of course, will vary from person to person depending on metabolic rate and drug use history. Generally speaking, opioids will be rendered ineffective if ingested within a day of Suboxone treatment. There are cases where Suboxone causes a near-permanent blocking of opioid receptors, although this is an extremely rare circumstance.

How long should you take Suboxone?

Just like our approach to every patient’s treatment, Suboxone treatment length is completely individualized. There is no standard timeframe for Suboxone treatment. Some patients may benefit from Suboxone treatment for a month, others may use it for a year or more. This is why it is so important to receive treatment from respected and accredited treatment facilities such as Vertava Health Massachusetts.

Is it possible to overdose on Suboxone?

It is extremely difficult to overdose on Suboxone alone as it is only a partial opiate receptor agonist. There is a ceiling to how much Suboxone your body can process, making it a relatively safe drug to use in medication-assisted treatment programs. In an overwhelming majority of overdose cases involving Suboxone, the user was also ingesting a sedative (such as a benzodiazepine) that slows down breathing.

Vivitrol (naltrexone)

Vivitrol is also a medication that can be used to treat opioid addiction, but it works differently than Suboxone. Vivitrol is not an opioid and acts as a full opioid antagonist. Antagonists create a barrier that blocks opioid molecules from attaching to opioid receptors but do not cause the release of dopamine. They are non-addictive and do not lead to physical dependence.

Vivitrol is the brand name for injectable naltrexone. This medication is long-acting and only needs to be administered once a month.

For a person committed to sobriety but struggling with addiction, Vivitrol is a good option as it removes the daily pressure of choosing to be sober.

A person will need to fully detox from opioids before starting a Vivitrol treatment regimen. This is why it is important to take part in a substance use treatment program that offers medically supervised detox, as well as recovery treatment services. Vertava Health Massachusetts offers medically supervised detox in Massachusetts as part of the intensive inpatient substance use treatment program.

Vivitrol is a relatively new treatment option so we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding its use in medication-assisted treatment.

How long can Vivitrol block the effectiveness of opioids?

After a patient has undergone medically-supervised detoxification at our facility, Vivitrol treatment can begin. It is imperative that a person’s body is completely clear of opioids before beginning treatment. The opioid receptor-blocking effects of Vivitrol typically last about 30 days so the drug must only be administered once a month.

Is Vivitrol safe to use long-term?

Vivitrol has been proven to be safe and effective for both short-term and long-term use. This aids in the individualized nature of treatment at Vertava Health Massachusetts because the drug can be used for as long as needed to meet the individual’s treatment goals. Most medical professionals recommend that Vivitrol treatment be used for at least a year.


Vertava Health Massachusetts has recently started using methadone as a treatment option for opioid addiction.

Methadone is a long-acting, full agonist opioid. This means that it completely blocks the receptors that respond to opioids, like heroin or Vicodin. Methadone reduces opioid cravings, decreases withdrawal symptoms, and also blocks the effects of other opioids.

Even if a person who is taking methadone decides to abuse another opioid, the opioid will not have the normal full effect. In this way, methadone reduces the potential for further opioid abuse.

As with the MAT-approved drugs outlined above, methadone treatment can be complex. We’ve compiled a few frequently asked questions below:

What are the benefits of methadone treatment in recovery?

Because methadone fills the same opioid receptors as heroin or prescription opioid drugs, it can drastically cut down on cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It is often used during the medical detoxification process because of this. When the craving for unhealthy opioid use is removed, the patient can fully focus on establishing a strong foundation for recovery without the constant threat of intense cravings or relapse.

Can I become addicted to methadone?

Methadone is considered a controlled substance and there is potential for addiction and abuse. At Vertava Health Massachusetts, our skilled and compassionate healthcare professionals will always carefully monitor methadone administration. When used as directed, methadone does not provide any sort of high for the user.

How long will I be prescribed methadone?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to opioid addiction. That’s why Vertava Health Massachusetts’ individualized approach to substance use disorder treatment is so effective. Some of our patients are prescribed methadone for short-term relief while others benefit from using the drug long-term to curb opioid cravings. Our team of medical professionals will work with you to determine the length of time that methadone will benefit your recovery.

Methadone, Vivitrol, and Suboxone are all FDA-approved medications to treat opioid use disorders. When taken as prescribed, and used in tandem with comprehensive, intensive substance use treatment, sobriety is achievable.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) And Recovery

MAT programs are combined with therapeutic interventions at Vertava Health Massachusetts during a 30- or 60-day intensive treatment program.

Integrated medication-assisted treatment allows for the following benefits:

  • eliminates the cravings, compulsions, and physical symptoms of withdrawal
  • helps residents focus on their recovery and the healing process
  • provides therapy and education to help individuals understand the nature of their addiction and what prompted their substance abuse
  • assists in the development of appropriate coping skills, strategies, and self-worth
  • assists in maintaining recovery goals and sobriety

Our Residential Treatment Recovery Program

As outlined above, the first stage of treatment at Vertava Health Massachusetts involves a medically supervised detox that provides 24-hour access to medical professionals. The goal of this stage is to manage withdrawal symptoms while providing support and stabilization measures, including MAT options. After the detoxification stage, our patients are transferred to our Residential Treatment Program.

Residential treatment is a type of treatment program that involves living on-site within an addiction treatment facility to participate in a formal schedule of individual and group-based treatment services. Our aim is to remove the patient from a situation of possible crisis and get them into an environment of compassionate care.

At Vertava Health Massachusetts, each patient’s residential program schedule is individually tailored in order to best suit their needs and goals for addiction treatment.

This individualized approach allows for each person entering our program to receive personalized treatment that recognizes the unique aspects of their experience with addiction and any previous treatment history. No two people are the same so no two approaches to treatment should be the same either.

Residential treatment programs can vary in length and in the services they provide. At Vertava Health Massachusetts, our residential program lasts approximately 30 to 60 days, with the last 10 days dedicated to a seamless transition into outpatient treatment.

Does medication-assisted treatment work?

Research shows that a combination of medication and therapy can successfully treat substance use disorders, and for some people struggling with addiction, MAT can help sustain recovery. MAT is also used to prevent or reduce opioid overdose. Individualized treatment is key when approaching medication-assisted treatment.

What does medication-assisted treatment mean?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines medication-assisted treatment (MAT) as the use of certain medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. This means that MAT addresses both the physical symptoms along with the psychological issues of addiction for an all-encompassing approach.

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What are the benefits of medication-assisted treatment?

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) with methadone, buprenorphine, or naloxone, has been proven to help patients recover from opioid addiction. The benefits of these treatment medications are numerous and include:

  • Safety and cost-effectiveness
  • Reducing the risk of overdose
  • Increasing treatment retention
  • Improving social functioning by reducing criminal activity

What medications are used for MAT?

Some Food and Drug Administration approved drugs for use in medication-assisted treatment include methadone, buprenorphine, naloxone, and naltrexone. Many of these are full or partial agonist opioids that fully or partially block opioid receptors, rendering opiate abuse difficult or impossible.

Is Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Right for Me?

To determine if our intensive inpatient treatment program meets the unique needs of someone struggling with opioid or alcohol addiction, reaching out to schedule an assessment is a great first step.

This assessment can help determine the level of care that is needed, as well as what types of services would be best suited for the individual.

Questions about the MAT options and amenities offered through Vertava Health Massachusetts can be directed to the treatment specialists who are waiting to hear from you or your loved one.

Choosing Vertava Health of Massachusetts’ Residential Treatment program to treat addiction is a step toward the life you deserve. Contact us today at (844) 906-0978.