Responsible Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Advocacy

First the ground rules!

  1. In every thing NAMA-R does the rights and dignity of the individual patient take precedence. It is never, ever, OK to violate that rule no matter how important the issue.

  2. NAMA-R has not and will never serve as an apologist for poor treatment.

  3. Everyone whether you want to be a NAMA-R Certified MAT Advocate (CMA) or not should take the training course. It is a great all around MAT course that will give you a great foundation in all aspects of MAT treatment. You don't have to be a patient.

  4. There are three requirements if you want to be a NAMA-R CMA.
    1. You must agree to abide by the Code of Ethics.
    2. You must support the goals of MAT advocacy.
    3. You must take and complete the NAMA-R CMA Training Course.

During the course of this training and after you are a Certified MAT Advocate (CMA) you are going to come across the phrase "responsible MAT advocacy".

What does it mean? We will explain.

Well meaning patients without proper training are stepping into the role of advocate. While their intentions are good they need training and mentoring and support.  We have all heard the old saying that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Unfortunately, when it comes to MAT it has tremendous validity. 

We are delighted that more patients are becoming interested in being advocates but dismayed that their knowledge is not complete. Our dismay is compounded by the fact that fledgling advocates are left to their own devices rather than being properly mentored.

We, at the National Alliance for Medication Assisted Recovery, have come to realize that just as the providers have had to re-evaluate themselves and their positions regarding the new guidelines, we, as MAT advocates have had to re-evaluate ourselves.  

We have come to realize that some of the problems surrounding MAT not only aren't being solved by MAT advocates they are being made worse. In fact, in the last year NAMA-R has had to divert significant resources towards rectifying problems exacerbated by well meaning but misguided MAT patient advocates.

The Board of Directors of NAMA-R has come to the conclusion that if responsible patient advocacy is to remain a positive force in helping to expand quality MAT in America it has to be just that, responsible. 

Towards that end the Board of Directors has created the NAMA-R Training and Certification Committee. The goal of the committee is to encourage the growth of responsible MAT advocacy. What we have done is establish an ethical code, goals, training, and a certification procedure for MAT advocates*. The plan calls for national training and certification, mentoring of patient advocates, and the establishment of a mechanism for continued training and certification. So that professional standards, once established can be maintained.

It is a huge challenge and one that would be much more difficult to achieve without at least tacit support from the wider MAT community. The rewards are obvious. There are many things about MAT that can only be advanced by responsible patients including the ending of MAT stigma.

The training isn't just for patients. The people who are doing the training are experts in their fields. We have already spoken to counselors, administrators, and physicians who have inquired about taking or sending clinic staffers to the training. The Addiction, Clinical and Regulations part of the training alone should be required for every clinic employee in the nation. 

NAMA-R feels  a MAT advocate is just someone who believes in MAT. Using that definition every person attending the AATOD Conference in fact every person employed in this industry should at least consider taking  the MAT advocate training course.

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Last Modified: June 13, 2013
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