By Eden Laikin
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano invites Suffolk County residents to come and learn about Nassau’s newest and successful treatment program for those who are dependent on heroin or pain pills, by attending one of the County’s free weekly education and support groups.
“You can live a life free from opioids, recovery is possible,” County Executive Mangano said. “We have examples of this (medication-assisted) treatment working in residents lives. I invite all Long Islanders to attend our Tuesday night meeting and hear from those currently on the program. Come learn about this pathway to recovery.”
The program, called a Shot at Life, combines monthly injections of long acting Naltrexone – an opioid blocker – with substance abuse counseling or other treatment, for about 15 months. Vivitrol – the brand-name of the non-narcotic, non-addictive shot – is administered by a healthcare professional and therefore can’t be abused or diverted. It works by capping the brain’s opiate receptors for about 28 days, blocking the user’s high and reducing the cravings for opioids. It’s FDA-approved for relapse prevention, and is covered under most private insurance and Medicaid, and is available at more than a dozen substance abuse treatment agencies across the Island. Recipients should be willing to stop – and opioid-free for 7-10 days – before receiving the initial shot or risk precipitated withdrawal.
Those suffering from addiction, as well as their family members and friends, are welcome to attend the informational meeting which is held from 7pm-9pm on Tuesdays, at Saint Bernard’s Parish school, 2nd floor, room 206.
The FDA first approved Vivitrol for alcohol dependence, in 2006. It was approved to prevent relapse to Opioid addiction in 2010, based on a study of 250 Heroin or Opiate-addicted people in Russia, which found that nearly 70% had successfully stopped using drugs, and, lost the desire for them.
“It’s a great tool for those trying to attain recovery,” Mangano said.
Nassau’s Opioid Treatment Program, located in Building K on the grounds of Nassau University Medical Center, offers Vivitrol, Methadone and Suboxone treatment tracks – on an outpatient basis.
To be screened for possible admission into the County’s “Shot at Life” program, call the clinic’s intake number at 572-5801.
Statistics indicate that 195 people died in Nassau last year from opioid overdoses and as of July 15 of this year, 98 residents have died from an overdose of prescription and/or illegal drugs.
About 25 states currently use Vivitrol in their criminal justice systems, resulting in reduced recidivism and incarceration rates, and costly ER visits.