Getting Started

At CATC, our goal is to help our patients and communities overcome opioid addiction. If you (or someone you know) are struggling with opioid dependency, we can help! We offer a variety of treatment options including medication-assisted treatment with Methadone or Buprenorphine/Naloxone. Our caring and experienced team can help you determine which treatment is right for you. Call us at 1-877-937-2282 or email us at info@canatc.ca to schedule an appointment or learn more about our treatment programs.

Following your decision to start the recovery journey, an intake specialist will help you through our comprehensive intake assessment with the goal of getting you started on the Program immediately.

What You Need to Get Started What to Expect at Intake
  • A valid provincial health card and photo ID
  • Meet diagnostic criteria of Opioid Use Disorder (DSM-5)
  • Agreement to adhere to program policy and code of conduct

 

  • Discussion to understand current challenges, history with opioids, and other substances
  • Physical examination and medical history
  • Diagnostic work
  • Review of program guidelines and expectations
  • Referrals for additional medical and psychological services as needed

Is OAT right for me?

Opioid agonist therapy (OAT) is a safe and effective medication-assisted treatment for people who are dependent on opioid drugs such as heroin, oxycodone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), fentanyl, and Percocet. The duration of the treatment will depend on the patient, and how much time they might need to deal with the emotional, physical, and/or social issues that led to their opioid use in the first place. Like all recovery based-programs, success with OAT requires a personal commitment to work with your CARE team to achieve success.

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What are the differences between Methadone and Buprenorphine/Naloxone?

Methadone and Buprenorphine/Naloxone (Suboxone®) are both health Canada approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Both medications help to alleviate the debilitating withdrawal symptoms and cravings experienced when trying to stop using opioids. While both medications are classified as opioids, have similar side effects, and are long acting medications, key differences distinguish them from one another.

Methadone is a full opioid agonist and as the dose increases, so will the therapeutic effects. Once the right dosage is achieved, methadone can provide full relief from opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings. 

Buprenorphine/Naloxone (Suboxone®) is a partial opioid agonist, meaning it does not fully activate the opioid receptors in the brain; because it is a partial opioid agonist, it does have a ceiling effect.

  • Methadone typically provides better withdrawal symptom management for those who have been taking high doses of potent opioids (i.e. fentanyl) and/or have developed a very high tolerance for opioids.
  • Small dose adjustments are easier to make with methadone given it is a liquid.
  • Buprenorphine/Naloxone is in tablet form, which is preferred by some patients.
  • Buprenorphine/Naloxone has a better safety profile than methadone, however, reports of diversion and injection of Buprenorphine/Naloxone is increasing.
  • Buprenorphine/Naloxone requires that a patient be in full withdrawal before starting this medication (i.e. having not used any opioids for 24+ hours).

What should I expect during OAT?

During the initial treatment period (~30 days), our patients are closely supervised – seeing our expert pharmacist daily and working with their physician to adjust their medication until an effective dose is reached (i.e. that withdrawal symptoms are fully resolved). In addition to medication, CATC patients can expect:

  • A friendly and judgement-free treatment environment where patients feel safe and welcome.
  • Medical supervision and ongoing assessment with referrals for medical treatment and physician collaboration as needed.
  • Education on addiction and relapse prevention.
  • Information on medical issues including HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis C, and other common illnesses associated with opioid use.

How is my OAT program paid for?

All medical services are covered by Provincial Health Care Plans and are offered at no cost to our patients.

The cost of your medications may be covered by the pan-provincial drug benefit program or by your private health insurance. In some cases, patients may be required to pay out of pocket, but we work closely with our patients to help get the costs of their medications covered through grant programs, etc.

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