Vivitrol aiding opioid addicts in recovery

Acting on addiction using Vivitrol

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11)  -- An old drug is providing new hope in Kentuckiana’s battle against opioid addiction.

A medication called Vivitrol, which helps block opioids, and makes it easier to stay clean is becoming increasingly popular.

Through August of 2017 there have been 284 overdoses in the Louisville Metro, down from 300 at that point last year.

Some are pointing to the increase of the use of Vivitrol by doctors, treatment facilities, and even metro corrections as they continue acting on addiction.

For recovering heroin addict Erin Coffey the memories of the day she overdosed and almost died are always on her mind.

"It was scary, but I'm not going to lie when I came back to I was ready to use again,” said Coffey.  "That relapse was bad.  It was completely hopeless.  I got the completely powerless piece.  No matter how bad I wanted to stop I couldn't."

Ten months later Coffey is working the steps towards sobriety.

"Words cannot describe how I feel today,” said Coffey.  "There is no cure for addiction, it's a daily battle."

Thanks to The Healing Place she has learned to attack the mental side of addiction with meetings, but a drug known as Vivitrol is now helping her attack her addiction physically.

"What it does is fill up the opiate receptors in the brain so no other opiates can get in there,” said Heather Gibson, director of program services at The Healing Place.  “You aren't able to get high, and if you do try to get high you don't feel the effects.  It's a nice tool to have to help people stay sober long enough to engage in the recovery process."

Coffey says had she consistently been on Vivitrol in the past she may not have relapsed.

"It did curb my cravings,” said Coffey.  “It helped with the physical craving of wanting to use.  I've been on it for over a year now and I'm really grateful for it."

While it has helped her along the path of recovery she admits it's not the quick fix some may want it to be.

"You've got to want to be sober,” said Coffey.  “This is not a cure."

In order to be eligible to use Vivitrol you have to pass a drug test, and have your liver levels tested.

A single dose can cost more than $1000 without insurance, but there are a number of options that make more than 90% of doses available for free or at a low cost.

For more information on those resources click here.

 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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