Avoiding Addiction Relapse with Medication

Drug addiction is a concern in many countries across the globe; particularly in the USA. In many cases, addicts fear recovery because they are frightened of an addiction relapse. This is not a valid reason to avoid recovery as by prolonging drug use the affected individual is putting him/herself at an increased risk of developing drug-related health problems.

In the United States, they have come up with an innovative way to stop their prisoners from sneaking drugs into prison; by providing opioid addicts with an injection to ‘stop their cravings’. This is one way they are looking to help with the addiction issues currently rampant in their prisons.

‘I See How Much Better Life Is’

Many of the addicted prisoners are insisting that their lives have been changed by their monthly dose of Vivitrol. Christopher Wolf is one man who has served time in prison and was ordered to go through treatment for his heroin addiction – the judge suggested he try Vivitrol. Just three months after first trying Vivitrol, Christopher is off the drugs and now works as a full-time cook. He says he would recommend Vivitrol to anyone. “I don’t have cravings. I see how much better life is. It gets better really fast,” he explained.

Couldn’t Design Something Better

The drug is administered via injection, the effects of which last for four weeks. It does not come cheap, though, with each shot costing as much as $1,000. Those backing the use of Vivitrol say it works out cheaper when compared to the costs associated with sending someone to prison because of an offence related to this person’s addiction. David Farabee, who leads a Vivitrol study in a New Mexico jail, said, “You couldn’t design something better for the criminal justice system. There’s been pushback with other medications, people saying, ‘We’re just changing one drug for another’. That argument goes out the window when you’re talking about a blocker like Vivitrol.”

No Overdoses After One Year

In a study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 300 offenders were chosen at random to receive either doses of Vivitrol or counselling and referral to a treatment programme. After just six months, the Vivitrol group had a much lower rate of relapse at just 43% compared to 64% for the counselling group. One year after the treatment, there had been no overdoses amongst the Vivitrol group; however, there were seven, including three deaths, in the other group.

Must Be More Cautious

Legal director of the Legal Action Centre, Sally Friedman, is currently looking for a test case to present to authorities. She said, “Treatment should be offered from the moment they are brought into the system.” While Andrew Kolodny, senior scientist at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, said that physicians are finding they must be more cautious about pharmaceutical company marketing. “When the drug company sends someone in to give them (prisoners) a talk and buy them pizza, they think they’re getting a scientific lecture,” he explained.

All Hands on Deck

Dr Joseph Garbely of Caron Treatment Centres, based in Pennsylvania, who supports the idea of medication-assisted treatment, said “There’s widespread agreement that counselling support groups and treatment for underlying problems such as depression are crucial for Vivitrol patients. The disease of addiction is a cunning, baffling and powerful one and you need all hands on deck.”

What Is Addiction Relapse?

Addiction relapse is something recovering addicts fear, with many of these convinced that it will be an extremely unpleasant experience; in some cases, they are right. Relapse occurs when an addict tries to overcome their addiction but falls back into old habits and starts using again. This can often result in the affected person feeling like a ‘hopeless case’ or a failure; however, this is not true.

Many addicts will experience a relapse during their recovery, and it does not make them a failure. If you relapse, the best thing to do is learn from it and make sure there is more support the next time you try to overcome your addiction.

Overcoming Your Addiction

It can be quite stressful when it comes to overcoming an addiction; many people do not know where to begin. If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction and you are unsure where to start, contact us here at Addiction Helper. Our goal is to ensure that you overcome your addiction and are comfortable and happy along the way. Our dedicated counsellors will make you feel at ease straight away. If you would like more information, or indeed if you have any enquiries, do not hesitate to contact us today and we will be more than happy to help.

Source: ‘Life gets better really fast’: Drug addict prisoners reveal how their lives have been turned around by a $1,000 monthly injection that removes their cravings (Daily Mail)

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