Price is “Not a Fan” of MAT

Guest Blogger for this week: Yoshi the Cat


















Those of us working with patients with opioid use disorder felt apprehensive about what the new head of Health and Human Services (HHS), Dr. Tom Price, would say about medication-assisted treatment. Our wait ended last week, and according to news services, he’s “not a fan” of MAT.

Dr. Price, during a visit to West Virginia last week, said “If we’re just substituting one opioid for another, we’re not moving the dial much,” Price said of MAT, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail. “Folks need to be cured so they can be productive members of society and realize their dreams.” [1]

He went on further to voice his support for faith-based addiction treatments.

As my regular readers know, medication-assisted treatments with buprenorphine or methadone are the most evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder.

Damn. Just when we were enjoying the push for treatments proven by science to be effective, we get a new head of HHS who either doesn’t know what science shows us, or worse, doesn’t care. Either way, it’s particularly disheartening, since he’s a physician.

If he’s not a fan of MAT, it is doubtful that President Trump will be a fan.

I searched the internet, trying to find information on his record concerning other health-related issues.

Price, while serving as a Congressman from Georgia, voted against the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. He has voted against Planned Parenthood funding, saying providing taxpayer money birth control pills violated religious freedoms. I scoured the internet for his views on Viagra, but couldn’t find anything. I would assume, given his views on birth control, that he’s also opposed to taxpayer funding of Viagra and similar drugs.

Commentators wonder if Price will support re-allocation of funds from MAT to the faith-based treatments he favors.

Then several days ago, our former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy posted comments on Twitter, encouraging people to look to science for answers. He tweeted, “Science, not opinion, should guide our recommendations and policies.” And also, “Decades of research have shown that the benefits of medication assisted treatment greatly outweigh the risks associated with diversion.”

I heard Dr. Murthy speak at this year’s American Society of Addiction Medicine conference. The man is smart, and I hope Dr. Price is listening. He could learn much from this younger physician.

Governor Chris Christie was tasked with leading a panel on opioid addiction by the White House, and his final report will be due October 1st of this year.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kirsten on May 17, 2017 at 5:58 pm

    MAT has given my husband and me our lives back so that we can “be productive members of society” and have “realized our dreams” We dealt with failed attempts at recovery for the better part of a decade, tried short term suboxone treatments or weening down ourselves to nothing then cold turkey. The amount of time that we remained sober varied with each attempt but there was one common denominator… the failure to remain sober. On April 22, three years ago we made the decision to go into Methadone treatment and accept that total abstinence was just not something that worked for either of us regardless of how badly we wanted it. Since then, we have bought our first home, bought new vehicles, I am now working part time and work very hard at our home the rest of the time building our little “homestead”, my husband has gotten 3 promotions at his work and is now the Foreman on evening shift with almost 75 men working under him. I would say that this could be what Dr.Price is referring to in saying “productive members of society”. I only have to go to my clinic every 2 weeks to pick up my methadone, but I have a great relationship with my counselor and I know that I will always have triggers. There are many times that I make appointments with her that aren’t required just to stay on track with my sobriety. For anyone to say that a certain treatment will work for the masses seems very closed minded to me. I am no professional but I have been around addiction long enough to know that what works for me may not work for others. If we truly want to treat addiction, we have to keep all options open and accessible. If I hadn’t had the option of Methadone when I decided to try it, there isn’t a doubt in my mind that I’d be dead by now. I was using 300+ mgs of oxymorphone intravenously every day, along with any benzo that I could get my hands on and usually some oxycodone or heroin to go with the opana. We were on the fast track to nowhere and something had to be done. Over 3 years later I am still paying off credit card debts and loans that we acquired in the height of our addiction and I am reminded of the horrible place we have risen up from every time I write a payment out! I owe all of my success to MAT, of course it takes a whole lot of hard work and will power to get clean and stay that way but without the help of medication assisted treatment, I wouldn’t have made it at all!


  2. Posted by Joe Toney on May 22, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    I am a FP in rural Missouri and just found your blog. Sorry for the out of order post. I have been an MAT provider for about a year and love the work. I am interested in your post about probup. What do I need to do to get rolling with the implant/injection? Also I read your road sign post. Here in the area no one even knows about MAT and that treatment is available. Any thoughts on how to get the word out ‘advertise’ in a professional way.


    • I’d go to and contact the company, who can send a representative to you or give you details over the phone.
      As far as advertising, I’ve never had to do it. All of my patients come due to word of mouth. One patient starts treatment, and then starts looking, feeling, acting so much better than the people around him want to know what happened. He tells them, then I get phone calls asking for appointments from them.
      When people from the yellow pages or other advertising organizations come to my office and ask if I want to place an ad, I laugh and say I’ve got the best advertising that money can’t buy – healthier patients.


      • I’m on my last day of a detox coming off methadone in the UK. I did 3 days on bupanophine then did a 10 day britlofex and it’s totally changed my life no my daily chemist trips. Iv also started a blog recently for support for others and myself. Thankyou…

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