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New Philly mandate: Fight opioid crisis with medication-assisted treatment

helley Bastos’ problems with opioids started early, after surgeries as a young woman hooked her on Percocet. But after years of battling drug use, she finally found a reputable clinic that helped her stabilize with the proper dose of methadone. For Bastos, it was a life-saver.

“It was available,” Bastos, 37, said about medication-assisted treatment. “When I was ready, I was able to use those resources to gain the coping skills to get the support I needed.”

But many people with opioid use disorders have not been as lucky. Learning about and getting access to medication-assisted treatment has been difficult.

It’s considered the only evidence-based protocol for weaning and staying off opioids, but it has not been widely available in Philadelphia. Some form is currently offered at most city programs — but the options have been insufficient to combat the mounting opioid crisis, which has left Philly with one of the worst overdose epidemics in the nation.

Making it widely available is now a priority, officials say.

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