You can get a COVID or flu shot from your pharmacist, so why not offer more medications at the local counter? For example, in Missouri, a law that is being considered would offer dramatically more access to naltrexone hydrochloride, brand name Vivitrol.

What is Naltrexone Hydrochloride?

Naltrexone hydrochloride is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an opioid antagonist, a drug that can block the effects of opioids and can be administered as a shot for 30 days at a time. It is often used within the justice system to help inmates with opioid use disorder avoid relapse.

It helps former opioid users avoid the physical effects of cravings, which are often intense even after they have gone through withdrawal of their drug of choice.

Meant As A Temporary Measure

Vivitrol at the pharmacy wouldn’t be a monthly treatment option. A treatment program or outpatient doctor visit is more appropriate for people who want to stay on MAT for months. However, in the past few years, doctors have seen more patients who have relapsed due to stress and pandemic issues.

For people who had once been addicted to drugs, withdrawal symptoms and cravings can hit back as hard as ever. However, an injection of Vivitrol could help them get through the worst of the cravings as they get back on their feet.

The point is to add one more tool to the arsenal of addiction recovery professionals. After the 30 days are up, the person could see a healthcare professional if they still felt in need of MAT.

Opioid Overdoses Increasing in Missouri

In Missouri, overdose deaths have been increasing, especially in the Ozarks. For example, in Springfield, Missouri, SPD responded to 566 overdose calls, with 61 deaths.

Like many parts of America, these new deaths can be partially attributable to the prevalence of Fentanyl. Fentanyl overdoses now make up the bulk of overdoses in America, with overdose becoming a more common cause of death than car accidents.

Medication-Assisted Treatment is considered the “gold standard” for opioid addiction disorders, and there are several medications available for people who need it. It’s recommended alongside a drug treatment program or therapy.