SAMHSA publishes guidance on clinical best practices using medication-assisted treatment to combat the opioid epidemic

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is publishing guidance today to help broaden healthcare professionals’ understanding of medications that can be used to treat Americans with opioid use disorder (OUD).

“We know that people can and do recover from opioid use disorders when they receive appropriate treatment, and medication-assisted treatment’s success in treating opioid use disorders is well documented,” said Dr. Elinore F. McCance-Katz, Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use. “TIP 63 emphasizes that increasing access to medications to treat opioid use disorder will help more people recover, enabling them to improve their health, living full and productive lives.”

The Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 63, “Medications for Opioid Use Disorder,” reviews the use of the three Food and Drug Administration-approved medications to treat opioid use disorders: methadone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine. Mandated by Section 303 of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (P.L. 114-198), this TIP provides guidance for healthcare professionals and addiction treatment providers on appropriate prescribing practices for these medications and effective strategies for supporting the patients utilizing medication for the treatment of OUD. TIP 63 also educates patients, families, and the general public about how OUD medications work and the benefits they offer.

As part of SAMHSA’s response to the opioid crisis, TIP 63 is a resource for health professionals throughout the country to employ in addressing crucial facets of the epidemic. Expanding access to OUD medications is an important public health strategy. The gap between the number of people who need opioid addiction treatment and the capacity to treat them with OUD medication is substantial. Improving access to treatment with OUD medications is crucial to closing the wide gap between treatment need and treatment availability – especially considering the strong evidence of effectiveness for such treatments. Data indicate that medications for OUD are both cost-effective and cost-beneficial.

TIP 63 and its sub-components are available to download and order from the SAMHSA Store at https://store.samhsa.gov/product/SMA18-5063FULLDOC.

If you or someone you know is facing addiction, SAMHSA urges you to contact our National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP or to visit our treatment locator at https://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/

For more information, contact the SAMHSA Press Office at 240-276-2130.


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities.

Last Updated: 02/15/2018