Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD)

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Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) is an umbrella term for medications used in the treatment of opioid addiction or opioid use disorder (OUD). These medications are typically prescribed as part of a comprehensive treatment program that also includes counseling and behavioral therapies.

There are three main types of medications used in MOUD:

  1. Methadone: Methadone is a long-acting opioid agonist. It works by binding to the same receptors in the brain as opioids, such as heroin or prescription painkillers, but it does so in a way that helps to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms without producing the same euphoric effects. Methadone is usually dispensed in specialized clinics on a daily basis.

  2. Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, meaning it also binds to opioid receptors but produces weaker effects compared to full opioid agonists like heroin or methadone. Buprenorphine helps to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms while also blocking the effects of other opioids, which can help prevent relapse. It is often prescribed in the form of sublingual tablets or films and can be administered in a doctor’s office.

  3. Naltrexone: Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, meaning it blocks the effects of opioids by binding to the same receptors in the brain without activating them. Unlike methadone and buprenorphine, which help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, naltrexone works by preventing opioids from producing any effects if they are taken. It is available in both oral and injectable forms.

Research consistently supports the effectiveness of MOUD in reducing opioid use, preventing overdose, and enhancing overall well-being. Treatment should ideally be part of a comprehensive approach that includes counseling, behavioral therapies, and support services tailored to individual needs.

Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) Resources


More resources will be added soon, please check back.

Tools & Resources

The MAT Resource Library is supported by the Los Angeles County Health Agency and Department of Public Health, Substance Abuse Prevention and Control. The site provides practical information on Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT) for providers across health systems (e.g., physical health, mental health, and substance use disorder systems), as well as for patients.
This toolkit provides correctional administrators and health care providers recommendations and tools for implementing medication-assisted treatment (MAT) in correctional settings. It provides examples from the field that can be widely applied and adapted for programs that serve justice-involved individuals.
This guide focuses on using medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder in jails and prisons and during the reentry process when justice -involved persons return to the community. It provides an overview of policies and evidence-based practices that reduce the risk of overdose and relapse.
SAMHSA offers a guide on MAT for opioid use disorder, which includes information on the various medications available for treatment, as well as resources for finding MAT providers and programs.
This toolkit is a resource for Peer Recovery Specialists (PRSs) to feel equipped to discuss MOUD with providers, people seeking recovery, and others with questions about this treatment option.


This handbook provides guidance on using the web-based, multimedia tool Decisions in Recovery: Medications for Opioid Addiction. This handbook and the web-based tool offers information about medication-assisted treatment. Both resources help people living with opioid use disorder compare treatment options and discuss their preferences with a provider.
The Division of Health Care Financing and Policy has taken action to address the opioid crisis by updating Nevada Medicaid policy and opening Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)-related evaluation and management (E/M) codes for billing by Nevada Medicaid providers effective with dates of service on or after January 1, 2020. In addition to MAT related E/M codes, Nevada Medicaid opened Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) codes to assist providers in performing screening services to recipients at risk or struggling with Substance Use Disorder (SUD).
This pocket guide is designed as a quick reference for information about medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. It offers a checklist for prescribing medications to patients and provides a list of approved medications for treatment.
This Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) reviews the use of the three Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medications used to treat OUD—methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine—and the other strategies and services needed to support recovery for people with OUD.
P-COAT is an Alternative Payment Model designed by the American Medical Association (AMA) and The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM). The P-COAT model was developed to expand access and utilization of medication assisted treatment (MAT) while also ensuring providers are appropriately reimbursed for the services they provide.

Posters & Infographics

Opioid Trifold Brochures

Opioid Trifold Brochures

Opioid Information Brochures for Providers or Consumers help educate on opioids and opioid use, including effects of opioid use, pregnancy and opioid use, medications for opioid use including opioid overdose reversal medications, and treatment options for persons using opioids.
Download or request free hard copies
Medications for opioid overdose, withdrawal, and addiction Medications for opioid overdose, withdrawal, and addiction are safe, effective, and save lives. The National Institute on Drug Abuse supports research to develop new medicines and delivery systems to treat opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders, as well as other complications of substance use (including withdrawal and overdose), to help people choose treatments that are right for them. Medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for opioid addiction, overdose, and withdrawal work in various ways. Opioid Receptor Agonist: Medications attach to and activate opioid receptors in the brain to block withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Opioid Receptor Partial Agonist: Medications attach to and partially activate opioid receptors in the brain to ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Opioid Receptor Antagonist: Medications attach to and block activity of opioid receptors in the brain. Antagonist medications that treat substance use disorders do so by preventing euphoric effects (the high) of opioids and alcohol and by reducing cravings. Antagonist medications used to treat opioid overdoses do so by reversing dangerous drug effects like slowing or stopping breathing. Adrenergic Receptor Agonist: A medication that attaches to and activates adrenergic receptors in the brain and helps alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Four cards show medications prescribed to reduce opioid use and cravings. Methadone is available in daily liquid or tablets. Naltrexone is available in a monthly injection. Buprenorphine available in daily tablet and weekly or monthly injection. Buprenorphine/naloxone is available in daily film that dissolves under the tongue or tablet. One card shows medication prescribed to treat withdrawal symptoms. Lofexidine is available as a tablet taken as needed. Two cards show medication used to reverse overdose. Naloxone is available as an emergency nasal spray or injection. Nalmefene is available as an emergency nasal spray or injection.

Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) Infographic 

This infographic shows different types of medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for opioid overdose, withdrawal, and addiction.
Download the infographic

Webinars & Online Learning

Current News & Research

Project AMPED

This is a multi-year, mixed methods study in Nevada and New Mexico is examining the patterns, reasons for, and health concerns related to methamphetamine use and opioid use. 

Starting medication for opioid use disorder prior to prison release substantially reduces overdose deaths

Individuals with opioid use disorder being released from prison are at particularly high risk for fatal overdose, yet virtually no U.S. correctional facilities initiate or continue medications for addiction treatment that would protect people against overdose following release from prison. This study explored whether a novel program in the state of Rhode Island that continued inmates’ opioid use disorder medications led to decreased drug overdoses.