Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

Local News

June 25, 2014

Health department could offer new addiction treatment

June 25, 2014 — A new long-term treatment option for recovering drug addicts may soon make its way to the Little Sandy Health Department.

Naltrexone, also known as Vivitrol, is being adopted by public health organizations throughout the region as a non-addictive treatment for opioid addiction.

The drug was originally to treat patient suffering from alcoholism but a series of recent clinical trials have shown that the drug also is effective in helping opioid addicts with their withdrawal symptoms.

Naltrexone differs from maintenance therapies such as Suboxone in a few key ways.

Given as an injection every 28 days, Naltrexone blocks the body's opioid receptors, meaning that opioid-based drugs would have little to no effect on individuals receiving this treatment.

Naltrexone treatment lasts for approximately one year. Patients receiving the drug through the health department would also be required to participate in mandatory drug counseling while receiving treatment.

“People are now finding ways to abuse drugs like Suboxone so I think this treatment option would be of great benefit given the rate of addiction in our area,” said Rita Sexton, a health department nurse and advocate for the program.

Another benefit of Naltrexone is that the drug could potentially be covered by Medicaid, which would represent a substantial financial savings to patients.

Comparatively, some Suboxone patients typically pay upwards of $400 per month out-of-pocket for treatment.

Community benefits aside, a new addiction treatment program would also offer a new revenue stream for the cash-strapped health department as well.

Little Sandy’s board of directors is currently considering whether or not to move forward with offering Naltrexone treatment, but no time line as to a final decision has been given as of yet.

For more information about the potential risks and benefits of Naltrexone, contact the Little Sandy Health Department at (606) 474-8885.

Joe Lewis can be reached at jlewis@journal-times.com or by telephone at 286-4201.

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