One of the biggest struggles associated with addiction is that of drug cravings. This is particularly the case with opioid addiction, where cravings for the drug can be nearly overwhelming for someone who is trying to break free from the substance. Many in Florida’s treatment, corrections, and other social services industries are concerned that lawmakers may soon cut funding for Vivitrol, which is used to address these powerful cravings.
What is Vivitrol?
Vivitrol is a prescribed drug that treats opioid addiction by helping to relieve the physical and psychological symptoms of addiction. The drug is an extended-release form of naltrexone that is delivered as a monthly injection. It is effective in reducing cravings for both opioids and alcohol. It will also render opioids ineffective if taken after a person is given the injection.
How is Vivitrol Used?
In Florida, there are more than 100 publicly-funded Vivitrol programs. A common use of the drug is with inmates in county jails and the state prison who have an opioid use disorder, to help them just after release. Other programs that use it include the Department of Children and Families and various Florida drug rehab programs that receive state funding. This could soon change, depending on the outcome of budget negotiations.
Possible Funding Cuts for Vivitrol in Florida
Florida House members have proposed cutting $7 million in recurring funds from the state budget for Vivitrol, which has public officials and some in the state’s treatment community concerned. Mark Fontaine with the Florida Drug and Alcohol Abuse Association has repeatedly asked lawmakers to reconsider the move.
What some may not realize is that there are alternatives. Vivitrol has received widespread use in recent years in large part because its maker, Alkerman, began an aggressive marketing and lobbying campaign for the drug. Drugs such as Suboxone and methadone provide treatment for the body and brain.
Even knowing these facts, there are still several challenges present for public officials and administrators of Florida drug rehab centers. First, there have been no studies to date that compare results from Vivitrol versus these other drugs. Second, lawmakers have not agreed to substitute drugs in the funded programs, even though these other choices are often cheaper than Vivitrol.
Where an Opioid Addict Can Turn for Help
The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that as many as 36 million people worldwide are struggling with opioid addiction. Without help, an opioid addict faces the danger of severe illness, overdose, and even death. Unfortunately, Vivitrol is only an option for someone who has already withdrawn from opioids, so many people who want to get help need other solutions.
If you are addicted to opioids and are not sure where to turn for help, The Orlando Recovery Center would be happy to speak with you about its programs. Our Florida drug rehab offers a holistic treatment experience that is customized according to your needs, which may include medication-assisted treatment. Contact us now to speak with one of our addiction specialists about our affordable drug rehab programs and options.