Depot Narcan

From these pure opiates, smart scientific guys from pharmaceutical companies created (in their labs) synthetic opiates; from these, we get drugs like Fentanyl, OxyContin (oxycodone), Percocet, Darvon/Darvocetand many others. These synthetics are identical in every way to the opiate derivatives.

If you’ve overdosed on an opiate drug and were hustled to the ER by someone who cared, chances are good that you received a dose of Narcan; this dandy drug binds to the opiate receptors in your brain and prevents both the euphoric high of the opiate as well as the overdose profile, including respiratory arrest. The ER doc saved your life by using Narcan (generic name is naltrexone).

Until recently, Narcan hasn’t been used to treat opiate addiction because it was confined to ER use only. In a story dated 18 Oct 2010, the Washington Post featured an article by the Associated Press reporting that the Narcan-like drug Vivitrol has been approved by the FDA for clinical trials as a long-term treatment for opiate drug dependence.

The reasoning is simple: A depot injection is one that stays in your system for as long as a month. If you’re tempted to use opiates, why bother since you won’t get high? Better still, a matchstick-sized implant (placed under your skin) of  Probuphine – also naltrexone-based – can stay in place for up to six months. The implant is being examined by the FDA for clinical trials in early 2011.

Wow! Finally, a drug that can save you from your own poor judgment! Unfortunately, people addicted to opiates are notorious for non-compliance with treatment, including controversial methadone maintenance programs. Vivitrol and Probuphine, if they pass FDA muster, can really ruin your day if you want to get high on illegal street opiates or those prescribed by your physician for pain management. Nope, a judge can’t order you to use depot injections or implant naltrexone; he/she can merely send you to the slammer for crimes related to your misuse of controlled substances. If you’re really serious about kicking the dope habit, is it not wise to take advantage of any and all treatment options to prevent relapses?

It’s interesting to note that Vivitrol was initially approved by the FDA to treat alcoholism in 2006. The results weren’t very impressive since alcohol and opiates don’t have many brain receptor sites in common. If Vivitrol and Probuphine are more successful with opiate addiction, a brave new world will open to opiate addicts! Don’t hold your breath; clinical trials tend to be lengthy so the FDA can scrutinize possible negative side effects that are seriously detrimental to your health. Until these (or other) drugs are approved for use, hang in there with the treatment option of your choice – methadone maintenance, Narcotics Anonymous, in-patient treatment, religious and psychological treatment, etc. Most drug counselors don’t care if you go out and bark at the moon – if it works to keep you straight, then do it. Just do it.