Tag Archives: addiction treatment

Does Vivitrol Really Work for Opioid Dependency?

Vivitrol, a form of naltrexone, is an opiate/opioid antagonist. This means that it works on opioid brain receptors in a manner opposite that of opioids. In other words, when a person takes an opioid medication, the molecules of that medication “fit” into receptor sites in the brain, very similar to the way a key fits into a lock. This causes the opioid effects such as pain relief and euphoria. Opioids can also cause unpleasant effects like nausea, and if enough is taken, can even cause life-threatening suppression of the brain’s breathing center. Opioid antagonists like naltrexone work to reverse these effects and/or prevent them from occurring.

Is Vivitrol Safe? Is it Effective?

Vivitrol is safe as long as you are not allergic to it. It must be used with counseling, and the patient cannot be actively dependent upon opioids when they begin therapy. Vivitrol is given only once a month. It’s a long-acting injection. As long as the patient stays compliant and keeps their injection appointment, Vivitrol is extremely effective. This is because the antagonistic effects of naltrexone in the brain totally prevent any “high” from opioids. Even if the patient weakens and takes them, they will feel nothing because the brain’s opioid receptors are blocked. Only one molecule can occupy a receptor at a time, and naltrexone has a higher affinity, or priority, for the brain’s opioid receptors.

 

Benefits of Vivitrol Therapy:

It’s Not Addictive

Vivitrol works by blocking opioid receptors, not by stimulating them. There is no danger of addiction to Vivitrol.

Helps Patients Break Their Addiction

Recovering addicts can focus on rebuilding their lives, knowing that “giving in to temptation” won’t have the desired effect. They know they can’t get high so they think about other things.

Steady, Automatic Dosing

Because Vivitrol is an extended-release injection, there is no need to take a pill or go to a clinic every day. It provides 24-hour blockage and therefore protection against any opioid-induced “high” for a full month.

Some Possible Disadvantages

Like any other medical therapy, Vivitrol isn’t perfect. For example, if the patient actually needed pain relief, say, due to an accident, because their receptors are blocked, they would not experience the pain relief normally provided by opioids. Also the success of Vivitrol depends upon the patient continuing to show up for their injections on time.

Looking for opiate addiction treatment? Call Genesis House today 800-737-0933

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Why Do People from New York Come to South Florida for Drug Treatment?

There are drug treatment centers across the nation. Nevertheless, Florida is a popular spot for drug rehabilitation compared to other states. In particular, a large number of New York residents go down to Florida for drug treatment.

Cost of Drug Treatment in Florida

Drug treatment in New York is extremely high. Because it is such a large city, hospitals often charge excessive prices for ordinary treatments. If your case is complicated, costs can add up to an unreasonable amount. People flock to South Florida where prices are much more affordable. At local clinics, you can find treatments of nearly the same quality at lower costs. For individuals who are on a budget, this is a saving grace when it comes to drug abuse and addiction.

Rehab Facilities in South Florida

South Florida has a surprising number of clinical facilities in the area. They are located along the coast, and each one is accompanied by a recovery center. In addition, South Florida has state of the art equipment compared to the rest of the nation. Many drug treatment centers test out protocol in Florida where the weather is favorable and clients have a mixture of conditions. While New York certainly has some advanced facilities, they are typically reserved for medical students and life or death situations. Experience with addiction and recovery in South Florida are much more likely.

Addiction Specialists

There are a number of drug specialists in South Florida. If you are dealing with a severe case of anxiety or depression from drugs, experts can treat these with ease. In Cape Coral, there is a detailed list of drug specialists and where they are located. With the right contact information, you can get in touch with a doctor who fits your exact needs. This sort of availability is not possible in New York. In New York, the waiting line for a top notch physician can take weeks or even months on end. For urgent drug cases, this timeframe is simply too long. Moving across the country is well worth it for quality care.

When it comes to drug treatment, you don’t have to stay in one place. Moves such as a transition from New York to South Florida are commonplace and wise. You want the best treatment at the most affordable price, so don’t be afraid to try regions such as South Florida on a regular basis.

Call us today 800-737-0933

Genetic Therapy Targets Cocaine Addiction

journneurosciThere are 19,000 to 20,000 genes in a human. Each gene specifies something about us. Essentially, they are the recipe for an individual person, and gene therapy is one of the most promising fields in experimental medicine. Researchers are just now beginning to learn how powerful genes are and are now developing tools to aid genes.

For instance, if someone has a gene that greatly increases the chances of a disease later in life, gene therapy could isolate that gene, cut out the section that calls for the disease, and replace it with a “correctly” coded section. While implementing this technology in humans is a bit into the future, the knowledge and know-how is growing. With this knowledge, more improvements to treating addiction are being developed.

One specialized type of gene therapy involves introducing a virus into the system that will insert a unique type of gene into the patient. The new gene is designed to make new receptors grow on the surface of neurons within the cells. These new receptors only respond to a single, designer drug. Researchers are hoping that they can use this new virus method of gene therapy to help cocaine addicts overcome one of the hardest parts of a cocaine addiction – cravings. By engineering a person’s DNA to have these new receptors, doctors will be able to give cocaine addicts medicine that is designed to alleviate these strong cravings.

The method is called designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs, or DREADDs, and although it may seem extreme, cocaine cravings are so powerful that some addicts never overcome them. Oftentimes the mere thought of cocaine can send someone into a relapse. And while some drugs produce painful and dangerous physical withdrawal symptoms, cocaine causes intense mental distress.

“This new approach for treating drug addiction is exactly what is needed because it is targeted to a specific circuit in the brain regulating addiction,” said co-author Peter W. Kalivas, Department of Neuroscience chair at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). The research was published in the Journal of Neuroscience. It is showing promising results already, and combined with other treatment therapies and counseling, could be a very helpful tool in the future.

Drugs Seeping into Water Supply Becoming More of a Concern

Environmental Science & TechnologyThere has been a lot of news lately about tainted water. Flint, Michigan residents were horrified when it was discovered they were drinking water with dangerously high lead levels. Since then more cities throughout the country have begun rigorous testing of their drinking water. As more results come in, some residents are shocked at what they are hearing. One of the more surprising results for many has been the levels of drugs found in the water.

While it is of course not likely that anyone will ingest noticeable levels any time soon, the microscopic effects on the ecosystem could become a major issue over more time. This, of course, would also harm people as well.

Scientists in Baltimore wanted to investigate the local streams in the area. They noticed the size of certain wildlife was smaller than usual and took samples of several streams nearby. They found that there were high levels of amphetamines and methamphetamines, and the streams closer to urban areas had even higher concentrations of the drugs than other locations.

“They are likely coming down through leaks in the sewer. It also has been shown that the drugs can be released from wastewater treatment plants that are not necessarily designed to remove these compounds,” commented Emma Rosi-Marshall, co-author of the study.

In order to study the direct impact these drugs have on the wildlife and organisms, researchers developed an artificial stream. They placed plants and organisms that can be found throughout Baltimore into the test stream. Then they began to increase levels of amphetamine and methamphetamine, approximating the same levels they recorded in the natural elements. After only a few weeks of exposure, the wildlife was starting to become affected. Some side effects of the drug exposure included bugs maturing faster, the slippery substance on rocks near water stopped growing and bacteria started to mutate.

This is concerning because these small creatures and organisms are the basis of the food chain for Baltimore wildlife. Fish, other plants and birds all depend on the wildlife to survive. These also get injected into other parts of the food chain and ultimately, back to humans again, who were are the original source of the contamination, though now it affects everyone rather than just the initial users.

Scientists have hypothesized that it is the result of drugs being flushed down the toilet, or undigested components of drugs are being flushed with waste water. These concerns have been found before, where for more than a decade measurable levels of pharmaceuticals and other drug compounds have been found in the water supply.

In addition to needing to find better ways to treat wastewater before it reenters nature, we must also find better ways to disposing of drugs. Of course, for the benefit of all involved, having a massive reduction in overall drug use would help the most long-term, binging the emphasis back to the necessity of effective addiction treatment and prevention.

Hormone Research May Help Women Addicted to Cocaine

woman using cocaineAccording to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 15.8 million women admitted to using an illegal drug within the last year. While there are still more male addicts than females in the United States, researchers have realized that there are certain fluctuations in the estrogen hormone that may increase the chances that a woman could become addicted. This is important because if researchers can isolate the hormonal changes that make women more susceptible to drug use, they may be able to develop more preventable solutions for drug use in the future.

One particular study is focusing on women and cocaine use, headed by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin (UTA). It is being funded by a three-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to fund bio molecular research on the effects of changing hormone levels and molecular effects on behavior resulting from drug use.

“Our study on hormonal effects could lead to customizable and differentiated addiction treatment and prevention measures for men, women, women on hormone-based birth control, post-menopausal women and women on hormone replacement therapy,” said Linda Perrotti, UTA associate professor of psychology and lead author of the study.

Perrotti also went on to explain that, compared to men, women tend to experience more intense cravings when they are abstinent from the drug and seem to use more cocaine during periods of relapse. The clear differences between male and female cocaine users is interesting because until recently there was very little focus on the female-specific cocaine research.

Other researchers point out that isolating the study to women is important because it offers insight that previous studies could not. Many of the earlier studies have focused on male subjects, but now that researchers are aware that men and women may have different biological reasons for developing addictions, more studies that focus just on women are needed.

As treatment programs continue to evolve and incorporate new research and strategies, it has become increasingly important to include evidence-based therapies into the curriculum. More research like this can help programs develop and implement more treatments backed by scientific research in addition to other therapies and fellowship benefits.

New York Takes Step to Curb Abuse of Opiates

nygovAll throughout the country, there is a Then lawmakers decided that sending people home with that many narcotics was dangerous, and limited the supply to thirty days. Now the New York State Assembly and Governor Cuomo have decided that a week’s supply is sufficient in most cases. The idea is that patients who have a legitimate prescription for opiates need to protect themselves and their families by only having a small amount of the painkillers in their home.

Public officials hope that this would prevent accidental or intentional overdoses or theft of the pills by family members or friends. It would also reduce the number of pills being prescribed overall and deter some forms of prescription drug fraud.

This new mandate is part of a larger piece of legislation that covers several different aspects of opiate addiction. One item that passed with the bill is coverage for naloxone. This means that insurance providers will be required to provide benefits for naloxone for addicts or families of addicts. Naloxone is a drug that, when administered shortly after an opiate overdose, can reverse the effects and has already proven it can help save lives. Another provision is to automatically approve coverage for 14 days of treatment, rather than the 7 or 10 that was previously the minimum.

Additional measures include providing more education about opiate addiction to doctors, as prescribing habits have been one of the reasons for the boom in this type of substance abuse. Physicians who are better able to recognize and deal with such problems can be extremely beneficial in helping to save lives as well rather than continuing to be unaware of the substance abuse they may be fueling.

While the bill is a positive step forward, some people are calling for even more action. “The heroin bill is just more of a beginning. There’s a lot of things the governor said he’ll do administratively. This is a growing epidemic that’s hitting all segments of the community. The heroin bill is just a beginning,” commented Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie.

Of course addiction cannot be legislated out of existence, but for many treatment professionals it is refreshing to see policy makers taking this seriously and doing their part to assist. If you have a loved one in New York struggling with an addiction to painkillers or heroin, contact Genesis House now to see how we can help.

Addiction Treatment Field Facing a Shortage of Professionals

treatment specialistOur nation is in the midst of a very serious problem that the addiction treatment field is facing. In addition to the rising number of people abusing opiates, there is already a shortage in the number of certified or licensed counselors across the country.

As noted in a recent story from NPR, even if there were enough beds available for people in need of a rehabilitation program, there aren’t enough professionals in the field who would provide the services. Some people point fingers at lawmakers and state regulators for requiring higher education standards without providing solutions to the new demands. A representative for the National Council for Behavioral Health suggested in the article that the federal government provide reimbursement to people who are furthering their education to meet these newer standards.

According to research from the Pew Charitable Trusts last year, there is an average of just 32 addiction professionals per 1,000 adults who need some type of alcohol or drug rehabilitation service. The findings also mentioned that similarly-trained and licensed professionals in other health care fields earn more. Providing equal pay in this area of behavioral health would likely help attract more people to choose it as a career option.

With our nation suffering from record numbers of people dying from drug overdose, there has never been a greater need for quality addiction treatment staff than there is right now. Additionally, people want a place that they can trust and an organization that is stable with low turnover. Genesis House has some of the most competent and dedicated treatment and support staff available today, which is what keeps us in the top tier of the field. If you have a loved one in need of help for a substance abuse problem, contact us today to see how we can help.