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Local health center offers medically-assisted treatment option for opioid addiction
Anastasia Tuskey

Local health center offers medically-assisted treatment option for opioid addiction

Riverside Community Health Center has partnered with a global drug manufacturer to offer Vivitrol to patients with an opioid addiction. This medication has proven an effective method for long-term treatment of opioid addiction. Vivitrol is the manufacturer’s name for naltrexone a non-addictive, monthly treatment proven to prevent relapse in opioid dependent patients when used with counseling. Before starting Vivitrol, a patient must be opioid-free for a minimum of seven to 14 days to avoid sudden opioid withdrawal.

“Medical assisted treatment using Vivitrol is an effective strategy to reduce the number of deaths from heroin and fentanyl,” said Dr. Kathleen Burke, director of substance use initiatives for Will County. “Vivitrol has been found to take away the cravings for opioids and alcohol which is an important part of the recovery process. Vivitrol blocks opioid receptors in the brain for one month at a time. People with addiction cannot simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured of their addiction. All patients need ongoing care.”

Burke learned of the lack of medical assisted treatment services in the Braidwood/Wilmington area which until recently had the highest per capita death rates in the country. She reached out to personnel from Riverside who participated in a heroin use prevention event hosted by the Wilmington Coalition for a Healthy Community. She connected Riverside with the local Vivitrol representative from Alkermes. Burke said she is pleased Riverside wanted to participate in this program.

“I applaud the providers at Riverside Community Health Center for recognizing the importance of offering this medication,” she said. This partnership will help many people struggling with this disease of addiction.”

According to Karie Prokop, physician assistant from Riverside Community Health Center, the medication is covered by private insurance, Medicaid and Medicare. A person seeking treatment must be free from opioids for one week to be eligible.

“Vivitrol blocks the receptors in the brain so a person will not feel the effects of an opioid drug,” Prokop said. “This is the biggest challenge in treatment so quelling these cravings will enable a person to have more success through counseling and other therapy programs.”

Prokop said this treatment is available to anyone. The first step is to call the clinic for an appointment.

“One of our providers will meet with the patient for a complete medical history. The more information we have, the more effective program we can design for the patient.”

To schedule an appointment, contact Riverside Community Health Center at (815) 476-5210.

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Anastasia TuskeyAnastasia Tuskey

Communications Director

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