CRAWFORD COUNTY, Kans. — The Crawford County Mental Health Center will be introducing a new program that will help people tackle addictions.

The program is called “Medication Assistant Treatment” or MAT. It’s a comprehensive program, that combines medication and counseling. Medication will be used to prevent relapse and to minimize withdrawal. The center will put the MAT program into practice starting June 5th.

“What we do is we pair that behavioral interventions with the medication and between the two of them we remove the need to engage and we start to be able to provide new coping skills,” said James Childers.

“Medications are there to help physical part. And counseling is there to help a behavioral part of addiction,” said Sandra Anderson.

“I don’t know that you can put that the medication is more or less important than the other. Yeah, they work together, they’re synergistic,” said Cheryl Lemmon.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the number of overdose deaths continues to rise.

“Addiction has a behavioral component and a medical component, forever we’ve really treated the behavioral side and the medical side hasn’t been treated. Now we are starting to identify the impact that it can make by treating the medical side and the behavioral side together,” said Childers.

“So addiction is a chronic disease, it’s a medical condition, it’s there for life. But it can be managed with medications, with counseling a person can gain, regain productive healthy life,” said Anderson.

The Crawford County Mental Health Center offers same-day access, Monday through Friday.

“In the past programs have gotten a referral or somebody who said they want a treatment they would say, yeah, we’d be glad can you be here in three weeks. And we believe in striking while the iron is hot,” said Childers.

“The whole point of the medication-assisted is to get your meds in a safe manner and in a legal manner, and in a manner that’s enough to keep you from craving. It’s in a manner enough to keep you from withdrawing and yet you can be a successful member of society,” said Lemmon.