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“A common misconception associated with [medication-assisted treatment] is that it substitutes one drug for another. Instead, these medications relieve the withdrawal symptoms and psychological cravings that cause chemical imbalances in the body.”

Price instead touted treatment with a third addiction medicine, Vivitrol, a brand name formulation of naltrexone, which is an opioid blocker. All three drugs — methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone — have been shown to help reduce relapse and keep people in treatment.

“Instead of talking about getting the right medication to the right patient at the right time, [Price] actually maligned the use of buprenorphine and methadone,” says Dr. Corey Waller, an addiction psychiatrist who heads legislative advocacy at the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

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