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Medication Assisted Treatment in the rooms of NA
The recovery community of NA needs to wake up and smell the changes in the wind, as the use of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) or Drug Replacement Therapy (DRT) for persons with opiate dependency is becoming more socially and medically accepted in our society. The ability to recognize the difference between someone taking a medication to eliminate withdrawal symptoms and someone taking a drug to get high has been established medically, but in the rooms of the NA meetings I attend, it is considered taboo. There is a growing body of evidence that show the use of these medications can improve the overall success of persons with opiate dependency, much more than just using abstinence based recovery programs such as NA. The focus of 12 steps meetings is to reach the addict where they are and encourage them to follow the program of 12 steps, not to inform them medications they take are "forbidden" or "wrong". I remember (back in the day) when I was first getting clean, members were all upset that people were taking anti-depressants such as Prozac and insisting that those members were not clean, but instead still using. Now taking an anti-depressant or even many other psych medications is not abnormal, or even questioned by most. Today, if a newcomer says they take Suboxone or Methadone, they can be drummed out of the room by the "anti DRT" community in NA (at least in the NA community I live in), while others who take Seroquel, gabapentin or other medications that can be abused and no one bats an eye. Those who are seeking treatment with MAT may be looking for a softer, easier way, but the work one has to do when truly involved in a 12 step program they are going to find the path rocky and full of life lessons, regardless of the severity of withdrawal symptoms they experienced. Those who are taking MAT medications to get high are probably not the ones who will regularly attend NA meetings, unless it is to get their card signed and then you have the same issue with many of the court ordered participants. The use of a substance to treat a medical issues (withdrawal) that does not cause euphoria is not using drugs. It is a shame when I encourage people to attend NA meetings I have to tell them to be quite about their participation in MAT. they feel they are being dishonest with other members, they feel different and not enough, and all alone, the very things my recovery has removed from me.