The Daily Illini

A new approach to addiction

By The Daily Illini Editorial Board

Traditionally, heroin intake and addiction are seen as crimes, and it seems as though drug abusers are negatively stigmatized but not always given proper, comprehensive care. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “addiction changes the brain, disturbing the normal hierarchy of needs and desires.” These thoroughly negative effects call for strong treatment measures and a new way of looking at addiction.

Thankfully, Vivitrol will soon start being administered at Carle Foundation Hospital. This treatment measure will hopefully start to break the negative stigmas associated with drug use and serve as a successful way to combat addiction.

Vivitrol is a once-a-month injection that blocks the effects of drugs such as morphine, heroin and other opioids, therefore reducing the cravings people have for these drugs. While it is a pricey medicine, it is highly supported by the Champaign County Drug Court as well as by Carle, even in financial respects.

Currently, Carle has an Addiction Recovery Center that provides professional treatment, counseling and adolescent treatment, as well as providing other resources. While these are great services for users, increased drug use in our surrounding areas could call for a stronger, reinvigorated approach to treatment programs.

Luckily, Vivitrol injections will update these programs and will hopefully help lessen addiction, as it is non-addictive and is different than many other medicines currently used to treat heroin addiction.

By ushering in the use of Vivitrol, the Champaign County Drug Court has recognized the prevalence and stigmas associated with addiction. They are attempting an alternate program aimed at reducing drug use.

Addicts are generally either incarcerated or placed into rehabilitation programs. Unfortunately, this lumps together all addicts without individualizing treatment.

Rehab programs have relapse rates between 40 to 60 percent, making it hard to recover or build a life after incrimination or periods of drug abuse.

Starting Vivitrol treatments symbolizes a step toward providing the right treatment for drug abusers, which could change societal ideas, especially with so much support for the use of this medicine. Vivitrol could be a way to solve and prevent addiction that could ideally lead to long-term sobriety and could help addicts transition into society again. By investigating cures and developing new treatments like Vivitrol, we enforce the idea that addiction is similar to a curable illness, rather than a marker of criminality.

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