Even writing that title, I am paralyzed by the oddity of the very concept of using a drug to “cure” a drug addiction. Doesn’t this strike anyone as strange?
Heroin treatment’s latest development is not traditional counseling or even meditation, but a powerful little drug called Vivitrol. Intended for use as a monthly injection, addicts’ opioid receptors are blocked by the shot, preventing heroin and opiate drugs from producing their signature euphoric high.
Doctors say Vivitrol is different and much more effective than methadone treatment for heroin addicts. Some patients claim Vivitrol is a miracle drug, while others say it merely turned them to other street substances for the high they sought. There are plenty of drugs available to those who habitually need substances as part of their daily routine.
Heroin addiction is something I’m widely familiar with from personal experience. My sister was an abuser for nearly 15 years, and she lived on the streets for most of that time. She did, it seemed, every program available in the country—rapid opiate withdrawal treatment, methadone, short-term state-funded facilities, etc., etc. Finally, it occurred to my family that she needed something more.
We found a long-term program that she lived at for 5 months. She worked with her patient and understanding program counselors to get to the bottom of her early-life issues, her immoralities, bridges burned, etc., and I am proud that she is still clean and sober today.
It makes me tremendously happy that Vivitrol has worked for some people. I feel that sobriety is a very individual journey that must be approached as such. However, I maintain some skepticism of the treatment. I have never been completely sold on the idea of using one substance to cover up an addiction to another.
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