Giving Compass' Take:

· The author discusses increasing access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for those suffering from opioid use disorder or heroin addiction to reduce the number of deaths caused by the overdose crisis.

· In what ways can donors support expansion of MAT for opioid use disorder or heroin addiction? 

· Read more about the opioid epidemic and how marijuana is being used as a treatment for addiction

The synthetic opioid methadone, developed in Germany in the 1930s for the treatment of severe pain, has been employed for the Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) of heroin addiction and opioid use disorder since the 1960s. In the US, methadone clinics are tightly regulated by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Patients receiving methadone to treat their addiction must ingest it under the observation and supervision of clinic staff, who keep it in a lock box. Eventually, patients are permitted to take a few doses home with them for use over the weekend, and only after a lengthy course are some patients allowed to take home doses for themselves for “maintenance” purposes.

Individual states add additional layers of regulation. West Virginia has had a statewide moratorium on new methadone clinics since 2007. Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Wyoming have onerous restrictions and caps on their growth. Ohio recently lifted its moratorium on privately-owned methadone clinics.

Read the full article about increasing access to MAT for opioid use disorder by Jeffrey A. Singer at the Cato Institute.