Finding the Way to Zero: MAT Program

20 veterans a day take their own lives because they cannot see a way out of the pain and darkness that has become their life. This is twenty too many we must find a way to zero. Today I want to talk to you about one of the programs that are available to help assist veterans in crisis and veterans who are determined to improve the quality of life for themselves and their family. Here at the Memphis VA the medication assisted therapy clinic provides our veterans with Medication Assisted Therapy or MAT for dealing with addiction issues.We help them learn how to manage their disease process so that they can have productive lives. Addiction is a worldwide problem affecting many different people families and communities. Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain like diabetes or heart disease. Usually there’s a trauma component to this use. There is no cure but treatment is available. It was up to me to make the decision to work on self. The Veterans Health Administration has prioritized diagnosis and treatment delivery for our veterans that suffer from opioid use disorder. A veteran enrolled in MAT meets with a nurse and physician who worked together to develop an individualized treatment plan. That allows them to move forward with better clarity they’re not driven by cravings they’re not driven by the urge to use. An evaluation is conducted to determine if the disease is present and if specific medication would be helpful in the veterans recovery. The patient meets with the physician frequently in the beginning and the veterans response to the medication is assessed and monitored throughout treatment. Medications are available in the clinic for alcohol use disorder as well. I wouldn’t be sitting here talking. The last 27 years I lost hope and now the last two years with the staff, the peer support, I’m looking at no turning back right now. Recovery is the process of managing disease of addiction with medication, lifestyle change, counseling, and group support. Getting them into treatment with Medication Assisted Therapy ultimately can save their life. Veterans can request evaluation for Medication Assisted Therapy for their opioid or alcohol dependence by contacting the MAT Clinic directly or by discussing their referral interests with their primary care provider. Be honest with yourself and it will work itself out. Ask for help we’re here for you. Don’t give up. Don’t give up. [Music]

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