Addiction Psychiatry

Older man smiling.

Since 1966, The University of Kansas Health System has offered outpatient opioid addiction treatment. We offer the most comprehensive medication-assisted treatment for opioid-use disorder in the Kansas City region, including all of the most effective medications.

Medication-assisted treatments

  • Methadone is a medication used for the treatment of opiate addiction. Its unique properties make it helpful in reducing drug cravings, avoiding withdrawal symptoms and blocking the “high” of continued opiate abuse.

    Candidates are frst assessed to make sure this is the most appropriate level of care to meet their needs. An intake session with a counselor is followed with a medical examination by a physician. Persons accepted in the clinic are usually started on methadone that same day. Patients go to the clinic once a day for their methadone dose, with adjustments made to reach a stable, therapeutic level. A full biopsychosocial assessment is completed on all patients, which is then used to develop an individualized treatment plan. Patients participate in regular counseling sessions, work on treatment plan assignments and begin the journey of recovery. Many patients become eligible for take-home doses over time, requiring fewer visits to the clinic. The goal is to resume a productive and healthy life without abuse of illicit or nonprescribed substances.

    Patients on the methadone track have regular, individual counseling sessions. Group counseling sessions are also available daily except for Sunday and Monday.

  • Buprenorphine is a medication, used for opioid addiction and is taken sublingually. Buprenorphine binds to opiate receptors and partially activates them, preventing withdrawal symptoms and helping with cravings. It is taken under the tongue as a tablet or a film. Patients should not use opiates while on this medication, as they will not be effective. The person taking buprenorphine feels normal, not high.

    For the initial phase of buprenorphine treatment, the induction phase, patients are seen for three consecutive appointments by the addictions psychiatrist. Persons accepted are usually started on buprenorphine during the first appointment. During those appointments, adjustments to the medication might be made to find a stable dose.

    Unlike methadone, those taking buprenorphine are seen weekly, biweekly or monthly and are given a written prescription to fill at the patient’s regular pharmacy. Buprenorphine maintenance appointments are similar to doctor or medication management appointments.

    Individual and group psychotherapy is recommended to replace automatic thoughts with alternative thoughts and change the way the brain thinks.

  • Vivitrol® (intramuscular naltrexone) is an injectable form of medication-assisted treatment. Administered once a month, it binds to receptors, blocking receipt of the addictive opioid. This treatment helps with cravings and may be initiated when a patient has been abstinent from opioids for at least 10 days.

    The health system accepts Vivitrol patients with either alcohol or opioid dependence. Vivitrol is usually effective in the body anywhere from 21-28 days.

    Per federal regulations, counseling is not a requirement for Vivitrol treatment; however, individual and group therapy is available if patients are interested.

  • Sublocade™ (Buprenorphine Extended-Release) is an injectable formulation used to treat moderate to severe opioid use disorder administered once a month by injection. Sublocade releases a steady dose of buprenorphine for one month. Buprenorphine works by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and Sublocade is recommended for patients stabilized on a steady, maintenance dose of buprenorphine for seven days.

We accept high-risk expectant mothers struggling with addiction to help lower their doses and lessen the effects on both mother and baby.

Our specialists

Screenings

Persons interested in learning more about medication-assisted treatment or who would like to be considered for the program may also call 913-588-6493 or email us to complete an initial screening and schedule an appointment with the clinic directly.

Some medications are covered by insurance, depending on individual policies. Methadone is not covered by insurance. If inability to pay is a concern, grant funding may be available. Grant funding is determined on an individual basis and is not guaranteed for an extended amount of time.

Physician referrals: 913-588-5862 or 877-588-5862.