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Anti-opioid injection potentially leading to other addictions

INDIANA – There’s speculation that a medication meant to help people stay off of opioids is leading addicts to meth amphetamines.

It’s called Vivitrol and it’s a once month injection. Health experts say it’s used to block the brain receptors that allow users to get a high from opiates like oxy and heroin.

Brooke Marshall is an addiction therapist working with Oaklawn in South Bend. She says the injection is currently being used at the St. Joseph County Jail and it seems to be working for inmates.

"At the county jail when they've been there for awhile, we give them Vitrol within 24 hours of release because they've had that clean time, to give them the best chances of sobriety when they get out," says Marshall.

The injection can be really helpful because it’s not replacing a drug with another addictive drug, like Suboxone or methadone. But it can only help addicts if it’s being used in conjunction with psychosocial support or therapy sessions.

It doesn’t fix the underlying issues of addiction, or the reasons why an addict might be searching for a high.  Vivitrol only keeps addicts from getting high from opioids, not other drugs.

Addicts will then go for anything easily available and right now that means moving towards the cheap, potent meth.

Right now there is no cure to meth addiction but some experts are hoping to study the combination of Vivitrol with the antidepressant Bupropion.

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