Ed Yeates ReportingAll Utah physicians could soon be using a newly approved drug to help patients hooked on pain opiates to withdraw from their addictions.
The Utah Addiction Center is sponsoring a special training day next month, hopefully to get as many licensed physicians certified to use the new drug. The new anti-addiction drug is Buprenorphine.
The FDA wants this in the hands of ALL physicians, especially general practitioners because many have a better relationship with their patients, and the patients in turn feel more comfortable getting treatment from somebody they know.
Michael Measom, M.D., Valley Mental Health: “It’s absolutely more comfortable for them. It is the first medication approved by the FDA for office space treatment of opiate dependence.”
We spoke with a young man who has used the new drug. We'll simply call him "John." He got hooked on OxyContin, which is commonly used to treat legitimate pain.
John: "I could still go out an socialize. It was hard to tell that I was on this drug. So I appeared normal, but I felt good. I was high. And I think it gave me a little more confidence, a little more ease when I was at these parties."
John knew he was in trouble and wanted to come off the drug, but he needed more than counseling. He needed a biological switch, so to speak, that could help him turn off the urge to keep taking the drug. He went on one of the new generation anti-addiction drugs.
John: "I think without that drug, I wouldn't have been able to quit because the physical withdrawals are so intense and so painful. It took the pain away like the physical pains, the bone aches, just the achy feeling in your body. Just made it easier to get through the day."
Barbara Hardy with the Utah Addiction Center says Opiad addiction through prescription abuse, especially among young people, is becoming a major health issue. Dr. Michael Measom says Buprenorphine is a tool long overdue in community clinics.
Michael Measom, M.D.: "It's very effective. I've used it many times to detox and help people do that transition while they go into treatment. It's a wonderful medication."