Is Naltrexone Implant more effective than a 12-Step Program for Opioid and Alcohol Addiction?
Yes, 12-step programs offer a one-size-fits-all approach to substance abuse treatment which are neither “evidence-based” nor backed by science. 12-step programs often operate with little or no oversight and vastly exaggerate outcomes. Taxpayers have shelled out nearly a trillion dollars in the past decade fighting addiction and overdose deaths are at their highest levels ever. 75 percent of people seeking substance abuse treatment enter 12-step programs. The data shows that these programs are simply not effective.
Naltrexone was recently made available as an implant that can provide up to 12 months of sobriety and relief with a single treatment. The implant is inserted just under the skin in a simple 15-minute procedure using local anesthetic. Over a period of months, the implant slowly dissolves, giving a small, controlled dose of the drug. The Naltrexone implant eliminates the need for shots or daily pills.
With a 12-step program, many people will spend a lifetime fighting addiction. Naltrexone can often flip that switch. Individuals who have struggled with addiction for many years are able to climb out of the hole and take back their lives.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the best treatment for opioid addiction should include medications such as Naltrexone. Unfortunately, many 12-step programs regard medications as a “crutch”. The public stigma attached to these drugs are largely attributed to ideologies which are propagated in 12-step programs.
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that Naltrexone, a non-opioid medication, was the most effective medication available for treating opioid and heroin addiction. Individuals in the study who received Naltrexone were less likely to relapse than patients who received methadone or Suboxone. Naltrexone was also shown to contribute to longer periods of sobriety. Perhaps most importantly, none of the patients who received Naltrexone experienced a fatal overdose, even 18 months after the study had ended. Naltrexone can significantly reduce cravings for heroin, opioids and even alcohol. Many people who take Naltrexone feel an immediate relief. Naltrexone works by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain, eliminating the obsessive thoughts for drugs or alcohol.
Naltrexone was approved by the FDA in 1984, but has not been widely used among healthcare professionals as Methadone or Suboxone. Experts have argued that the major reason Naltrexone has not been widely adopted is because it can be cheaply manufactured without a patent and large pharmaceutical companies are unwilling to pay for the expensive clinical trials involved in testing it and bringing it to market. However, in 2010 an injectable form of Naltrexone called Vivitrol was approved by the FDA to treat substance abuse and many healthcare experts are taking notice. New York recently created a pilot program to test the effectiveness of Naltrexone in treating inmates to help the stay sober after they were paroled. If successful, many other states may follow suite and Naltrexone may become the standard of care for treating opioids and heroin all over the country.
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