Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD)

Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD) involves a combination of a medications that targets the brain, and psychosocial interventions (e.g., counseling, skills development) aimed at improving treatment outcomes. Research shows that medications and therapy together may be more successful than either treatment method alone.

Historically, pharmacological treatment for opioid use disorder was referred to as “Medications for Addiction Treatment (MAT),” but more recently it has been determined that the more appropriate term is “Medications for Opioid Use Disorder (MOUD).” PCSS-MOUD trainings, resources and website will use MOUD going forward.

While PCSS-MOUD provides trainings on a broad range of substance use disorder treatments, its primary focus is on treatment of opioid use disorders (OUD). Opioids include a class of drugs often prescribed for pain—morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone—as well as illicit drugs, such as heroin. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three medications for the treatment of OUD: methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

Episode 5: Navigating the New DEA 8-Hour Training Requirement for SUDs: What Prescribers Should Know

A new law soon goes into effect that requires new or renewing DEA licensees, as of June 27, 2023, to have completed a total of at least eight hours of training on opioid or other substance use disorders and the appropriate treatment of pain. Dr Yngvild Olsen, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, joins American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry to discuss the requirements going into effect, what should clinicians know about the changes, and how to best prepare.

Continue a Training

If you need to access a course in progress, please go directly to our education site.
Looking for something new, search our course and resource listing.

Request Your Buprenorphine Certificate

If you have completed your Buprenorphine Training with PCSS-MOUD, you can request your certificate here.

Buprenorphine Quick Start Guide

SAMHSA has developed a Buprenorphine Quick Start Guide for practitioners looking to prescribe buprenorphine.


Buprenorphine works similarly to methadone, but only partially activates opioid receptors, often reducing drug use and protecting patients from overdose. Because buprenorphine is considered safer than methadone, less monitoring is needed, and it can be prescribed by primary care providers who complete a special training course.


Methadone works by activating opioid receptors in the brain, and blocking the effects of heroin and painkillers. Patients taking methadone often have less craving for heroin/opioids and less withdrawal symptoms. As a result, they tend to use less heroin, have fewer medical complications, and often have improved social and work functioning. Methadone is one of the most effective medications we have, however it is a potent medication and can cause sedation, even death. Therefore, dispensing methadone is highly regulated and it can only be used in Opioid Treatment Programs.


Naltrexone works differently from methadone or buprenorphine. It completely blocks opioid receptors, and is used after detoxification to prevent relapse. It has no abuse potential, no overdose risk, and there is no withdrawal when the medication is stopped. Naltrexone can be administered in a primary care physician’s office with single doses effective for up to 30 days.