Addiction Treatment Starts Here: Behavioral Health is a new program to increase access to medications for addiction treatment (MAT) in mental health and substance use disorder settings for patients with opioid use disorder (OUD).

Federal, state, and local attention is focused on combatting opioids, the deadliest drug epidemic in US history. In addition to the devastating effects on the health of communities, OUD is also a major driver of high-cost service utilization, such as inpatient and emergency department care; the result is an enormous economic burden on health systems.

MAT is one approach to manage OUD. It combines psychological and behavioral therapy with FDA-approved medications ­(e.g., methadone, buprenorphine, or naltrexone). Research shows that using MAT can more than halve the mortality rate among patients with OUD. Despite overwhelming evidence that administration of these medications is considered the gold standard of treatment, only 10 percent of people across the country receive MAT for OUD.

Addiction Treatment Starts Here: Behavioral Health has selected 7 mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) sites in California to participate in a 15-month learning collaborative, launching in May 2019 and concluding in July 2020. The program provides funding, methods, tools and hands-on technical assistance to facilitate the implementation of MAT programs.

The curriculum has been designed by state and national experts and is based on CCI’s extensive experience in supporting primary care health centers in designing MAT program as well lessons learned from SUD and mental health settings offering MAT to their patients.