MAT and Behavioral Health Counseling
BHAP will educate lawmakers of the critical nature that counseling and behavioral therapies be embodied in MAT funding, and require that evidence-based therapeutic practices be provided by any provider delivering medication-assisted treatment or receiving MAT funding.
SAMHSA defines Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) as the use of medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies. The challenge is that the legislative view of MAT addresses the biologic aspect of substance use disorders (SUDs), but does not address the therapeutic risk of relapse. It is essential to utilize MAT to keep patients engaged in therapeutic treatment longer in order to increase long-term recovery outcomes. Many lawmakers lack an understanding of this “whole patient” approach to the treatment of SUDs, resulting in a focus on medication that too often overlooks the need for behavioral health counseling.