Keli McLoyd, an associate at the Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia, spoke to Solutions Journalism: Covering Addiction today to discuss medication-assisted treatment options, including methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. Click here for McLoyd’s handout on proven clinical and cost effectiveness of medications used to treat opioid disorder and here for her handout on public and private policies that limit individuals’ access to medication-assisted treatment.


Keli McLoyd on Medication-Assisted Treatment: “They work, period”

by Fede Gillespie-Anderson

Keli McLoyd, an associate at the Treatment Research Institute of Philadelphia recently visited our class with the intention of utilizing data and science to approach a discussion of medically-assisted recovery. Though McLoyd is a person in long-term recovery herself, she prefers to keep her work and personal life separate and recognizes the importance of battling stigma. Throughout her presentation, McLoyd discussed a number of medications used to treat opioid addiction and the pros and cons of each one.

Though many people are skeptical of medication as a route of recovery, McLoyd is not. Despite the way you may feel towards these medications “they work, period” said McLoyd in defense of medication-assisted treatment.

The medications discussed during her presentation include suboxone, methadone, naloxone, and naltrexone. Interestingly, methadone which has been around the longest amongst these drugs cannot be prescribed and can solely be used at a clinic, while naloxone, more commonly referred to as narcan is widespread and readily available. The difference between the two is that methadone does not force patients into withdrawal like naloxone, making it the more preferable option.

Though McLoyd is an advocate of medical assisted treatment she makes a point that only 10% of people that need these services actually get them. “What is access if you can’t afford it?” she said. McLoyd also says these medications are useless unless they’re coupled with some kind pf psycho social treatment as well. It is often the case that people with substance use disorders also struggle with some sort of mental ailment. These drugs are only meant to get you of the illicit drug, nothing further.