Medications For Addiction Treatment: Changing Language to Improve Care

J Addict Med. 2017 Jan/Feb;11(1):1-2. doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000275.


The term medication-assisted treatment has been widely adopted in reference to the use of opioid agonist therapy. Although it is arguably better than the older terms of replacement or substitution therapy, medication-assisted treatment implies that medications are a corollary to whatever the main part of treatment is. No other medication for other health conditions is referred to this way. It has finally been recognized that to improve care and reduce stigma, we must use medically accurate and person-first language, describing those with the disease of addiction as people with substance use disorder. However, to truly change outcomes, we must also alter the language of treatment.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Opiate Substitution Treatment*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / therapy*
  • Terminology as Topic*


  • Analgesics, Opioid