Medication-assisted treatment with drugs like Methadone, Buprenorphine and Naltrexone are standard care for people addicted to opioids, but practitioners are only just starting to learn about MAT treatments for methamphetamine..
Melinda McDowell had used drugs since she was a teenager. But she didn’t try methamphetamine until one fateful night in 2017 after her mother died suddenly of a stroke. She went over to a neighbor’s house and he had crystal meth.
“I tried it and I was hooked from the first hit,” McDowell said. “It was an explosion of the senses. It was the biggest high I’d ever experienced.”
She’d heard about a woman named Nancy Beste, who’d recently opened the door to Road to Recovery in Steamboat Springs, near where McDowell lived. McDowell said she begged Beste for help.
Beste, who’s a certified addiction counselor and physician’s assistant, said McDowell’s call came at a fortuitous time. She’d just gotten back from a conference where she learned about research into what’s called medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, for methamphetamine users. Studies have found that Naltrexone, the same medication used to treat alcohol addiction and opioids, can work for some people addicted to methamphetamine.
Beste gave McDowell a prescription for Naltrexone and signed her up for individual and group therapy. McDowell said three to four hours after she took the first pill, she felt better. After the second pill, the withdrawals began to fade.
“The shaking started going away. I wasn’t panicking. I could feel some relief.” McDowell said. “I knew there was something different.”
That was over a year ago. McDowell is still sober today.
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