Gateway started the only local Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) program in November 2014. Our MAT clinic is staffed twice a week with Dr. Paul Davis Johnson, MD , Medical Director and Kellie Steele, Therapist, where we continue to monitor vital signs and withdrawal symptoms. Gateway decided to open a second program option that uses private dollars instead of state funds. This allows us to treat the person with opiate dependency on a longer term basis. Studies are showing longer term programs, those seeing patients for more than 18 months are having better success rates in overall recovery.
The stigma associated with Medication Assisted Treatment, MAT, programs is the idea the patient is “trading one drug for another.” The medication used in our MAT program, buprenorphine, helps to stabilize the patient’s withdrawal symptoms while also reducing cravings to use opiates and other drugs. The “miracle” of this medication is the patient can feel “normal” which is something many will tell you they have not felt in many years. Our patients are able to function in society – maintain or find stable employment, improve their personal relationships, and attend treatment and/or 12 step support to work through their feelings associated with past substance use in hopes of preventing future relapse.