Reducing Mortality of People Who Use Opioids through Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence

Background: Globally, in countries of all income levels, people who inject drugs (PWID) are at high risk for premature mortality due to acute and chronic diseases related to injection drug use, including trauma, bacterial infections, viral infections, opioid use disorder, suicide and drug overdose. MAT is the use of medications, in combination with behavioral therapies, to provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Addressing the needs of the wholepatient, including the risk of drug overdose with medications, can not only occur in the clinic but also in the community as part of community-based care. Methods and findings: Literature review of published cohorts studies and reviews. MAT impacts public health through the reduction of opioid use, opioid overdose mortality and transmission of infectious diseases and can be provided in both clinical and community settings. Conclusion: MAT is an important treatment paradigm, in clinical settings and in the community, for the reduction of premature mortality in PWID and who are opioiddependent. HIV primary care and pharmacies provide health service delivery venues for MAT that can substantially reduce the risk of premature mortality of people living with HIV. As part of medical care, as well as, part of community-based care for PWID, providing medications to reduce the risk of opioid overdose is an emerging health care practice that can reduce fatalities from opioid overdose.


Thomas FK, Melinda C, Jinhee L, Mitra A and Robert L

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