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  • Opioid Treatment Program

    Opioid treatment programs (OTPs) provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for persons diagnosed with opioid use disorder using any of three FDA-approved medications: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. OTPs dispense medication and are certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT). SAMHSA explains, "MAT is the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a whole-patient approach to the treatment of substance use disorders. Research shows that when treating substance use disorders, a combination of medication and behavioral therapies is most successful. MAT is clinically driven with a focus on individualized patient care."

    The duration of treatment, type of medication, and medication dosage should be based on the needs of the persons served, and objective withdrawal criteria should be used.

    Services are directed at improving quality of life and functioning by reducing or eliminating the use of illicit substances (to reduce criminal activity and/or the spread of infectious disease) and fostering vocational skills, family relationships, and community involvement.

    According to the federal government's 42 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 8, to be certified by SAMHSA, OTPs must be accredited by a CSAT-approved accrediting body. In November 2001, SAMHSA announced that CARF was an approved accreditor for opioid treatment programs providing outpatient, residential, and detoxification services in the United States. CARF currently accredits 60 percent of OTPs in the U.S.

    SAMHSA's approval of CARF accreditation is part of a change in the model of service delivery that shifted regulatory oversight from the FDA to a national accreditation model under SAMHSA/CSAT oversight. A study commissioned by SAMHSA showed this model to be effective at improving the quality of treatment services provided.

    Today, many OTPs also offer primary and mental healthcare and are linked with community partners to create a full continuum of care. To reflect this shift, CARF continually updates the standards and OTPs can select from the following programs:

    • Court Treatment
    • Detoxification
    • Day Treatment
    • Health Home
    • Integrated Behavioral Health/Primary Care
    • Intensive Outpatient Treatment
    • Outpatient Treatment
    • Residential Treatment

    The following specific population designations may be added to a program:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Older Adults 

    Please refer to the program descriptions New window icon for further details.

    For more information on CARF opioid treatment program accreditation, please email or call toll free (888) 281-6531.

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