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ACA 2018 Conference & Expo Sessions

357 - A Counselor’s Guide to Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Apr 29, 2018 7:30am ‐ Apr 29, 2018 8:30am


As a counselor, have you ever wondered what you can do about the opioid epidemic? Have you ever had questions about medication-assisted treatment programs (MATPs)? If so, you do not want to miss this session! With a focus on providing baseline information for counselors new to opioid addiction, the presenters will utilize their combined expertise in clinical mental health counseling and addictionology to answer your questions about individuals with an opioid addiction and MATPs.

Opioid addiction does not discriminate.  Those who are predisposed for the disease and are prescribed opioid painkillers will struggle with addiction.  Factors like race, gender, and socioeconomic status have little impact on etiology.  That being said, many people still view opioid addiction as an issue of morality or as a lack of personal strength.  Myths like these must be addressed, especially with those who serve this vulnerable population.  Medication Assisted Treatment Programs (MATP) treat addictions with the combination of psychotherapy and medications designed to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.  Specific to opioid addiction, the most commonly used medications are methadone, naltrexone and buprenorphine products, like Suboxone.  These medications have opioid agonist and/or antagonist properties that offer individuals with opioid addiction a level of stability not found in heroin or prescription painkiller abuse.  Once a level of physiological stability is reached, clients are more invested in counseling; and, therefore, they can address the psychosocial factors that are impacting their addiction.

Learning Objectives:

  • Counselors will learn the relevant background information related to the opioid epidemic, including prevalence data and current trends.  Counselors will also gain an understanding of what it is like to be addicted to opioids, and they will have the opportunity to confront their own biases about individuals with opioid addiction.
  • Counselors will learn about Medication Assisted Treatment Programs (MATP). This presentation will provide information on methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine products, like Suboxone.  Baseline information on the medications will be provided, including how it is administered and its impact on the brain.  Narcan, the antidote for an opioid overdose, will also be discussed.
  • Counselors will learn about their role in Medication Assisted Treatment Programs (MATP).  The presentation will include education on how to identify an individual with opioid addiction and what constitutes an appropriate referral to a MATP.  Counselors will also learn their role in working with an addictionologist.


  • Brian R. Russ, PhD, Assistant Professor, Indiana University-Purdue University of Columbus
  • Bruce Baker, Addictionologist, Newaygo County Mental Health

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