A dozen people in Jefferson County died from heroin overdoses last year.
Some studies show very promising signs of Vivitrol helping addiction victims, but experts say this drug isn’t the only tool recovering addicts need.
Vivitrol is what’s called an opiate blocker.
It’s being used to treat people addicted to prescription drugs, heroin and alcohol.
Kevin Brennan has battled opioid addiction for more than 30 years.
He says he’s tried Vivitrol, among other treatments, to stay clean for more than 3 years.
“As good as they are, they’re an adjunct. I think you need to have a program in place. My program of choice is the 12 steps,” he said.
Substance abuse experts agree with Kevin.
One Vivitrol injection about every 28 days stops cravings and desires to use drugs.
However, a user must be clean for about two weeks before taking Vivitrol.
Counselors say people suffering from addictions can’t rely on only a drug.
“They use their medications and live their recovery and become more successful in their recovery together with outpatient treatment,” said Anita Seefried-Brown, project coordinator at PIVOT.
“Vivitrol is a great option to help individuals to block the opiates during that 28-day period and in the meantime, get engaged in the treatment process,” said Jim Scordo, executive director of Credo Community Center.
Any medication is only one tool to get and stay clean.
Just ask Kathy Chipp, a recovering heroin addict who could benefit from Vivitrol, along with the support she has received from her family.
“It was hard for them because they didn’t give up on me. They believed in me and they had faith in me. That’s what kept me going and that’s what got me through it was their unconditional love for me,” she said.
Right now, Vivitrol is only available through a private physician here in the north country.
There’s talk of making it more widely available, but those discussions are in their very early stages.