LRADAC’s Official Statement Regarding Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT)

September 10, 2020

In response to recently posted misinformation on social media regarding LRADAC’s use of Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT), we want to assure our patients and partners that we are an official MAT provider—one of many substance misuse treatment approaches that we employ. Serving over 5,000 patients each year, we believe that there are many pathways to recovery and that Medication-assisted treatment, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, can provide a “whole-patient” approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Research has shown that a combination of medication and therapy can successfully treat substance misuse disorders, and for some people struggling with addiction, MAT can help sustain recovery, particularly in helping to prevent or reduce opioid overdose.

Along with our individual and group treatment programs, LRADAC is also contracted to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (LLR) to provide a recovery professional service, a program which LRADAC administers through the Recovering Professional Program (RPP). RPP is designed for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and other licensed health professionals in South Carolina with alcohol or substance use disorders or dual diagnosis of addiction and mental illness. Because licensed healthcare workers hold a safety-sensitive position, reasonable safety-sensitive considerations should be made for healthcare professionals, to include concerns about possible cognitive impairment. In 2011 following discussion with, and approval by LLR’s Boards of Nursing, Medical Examiners, Dentistry, and Pharmacy, RPP implemented an abstinence policy, which prohibits the use of mood-altering substances (subject to certain limited exceptions as defined below), a policy which remains in existence through today.

Regarding MAT therapy, RPP does allow the use of Naltrexone but currently prohibits the use of Buprenorphine and Methadone while working as a licensed healthcare professional. Although RPP does not allow its participants to practice while undergoing certain types of MAT therapy, RPP will allow licensed healthcare practitioners to enroll in the RPP program with the understanding that a taper and discontinuation of medication is necessary, before RPP will support a return to practice.

However, RPP—like LRADAC—acknowledges there are many pathways to recovery, including treatment approaches such as MAT and other recovery support, programs and mutual aid groups. ​

LRADAC is the designated alcohol abuse and drug abuse authority for Lexington and Richland Counties of South Carolina. The public, not-for-profit agency offers a wide array of prevention, intervention and treatment programs in locations convenient to residents of both counties. The agency has a budget of approximately $10 million and serves more than 5,000 clients per year.