Vital Signs: Monthly shot prevents high from opiates

Men and women climbing out of the dark hole of opiate addiction are turning to a new hope for recovery: A monthly injection that prevents them from getting high.

The shot, a medication called naltrexone — known by the brand name Vivitrol — blocks the brain’s opioid receptors, thwarting the euphoric effects of heroin and prescription painkillers. Patients can’t get high even if they try.

Unlike methadone or other opiate replacement therapies, the drug isn’t a narcotic. So it’s not addictive and has no street value.

Vivitrol is slowly catching on in Maine and nationally as another alternative in the fight against the epidemic of opiate addiction. But experts warn it’s no miracle cure.

Once-a-month shot that blocks high from opiates making inroads in Maine

Other top health stories this week:

Prescription painkiller deaths fall in Maine, other states with legal medical marijuana

Researchers aren’t sure why, but in the 23 states where medical marijuana has been legalized, deaths from opioid overdoses have decreased by almost 25 percent, according to a new analysis.

Gray mother turns sleepless nights into consulting business

Jessica Begley, a mother of two, recently became Maine’s first certified infant and child sleep consultant. Soon after, she started The Baby Sleep Geek, a sleep consultation service.

From our bloggers

Diane Atwood, Catching Health

Diagnosed with Cancer? Them’s Fighting Words.

Chris Kuhn and Dave Langdon are radiologists who work together at Mercy Hospital, and they are both cancer survivors … at least so far, they are likely to add.

Jackie Conn, Sooner or Lighter

Are Fat People Stupid Too?

When I lost weight, I felt as though I gained IQ points. I thought it was an illusion. I didn’t really believe I was less smart when I was overweight.

Compiled by BDN Health Editor Jackie Farwell. (I’ll be on vacation for the next two weeks, so Vital Signs is taking a break too. Look for the next newsletter on Sept. 18.)

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Jackie Farwell

About Jackie Farwell

I'm the health editor for the Bangor Daily News, a Bangor native, a UMaine grad, and a weekend crossword warrior. I never get sick of writing about Maine people, geeking out over health care data, and finding new ways to help you stay well. I live in Gorham with my husband Nick and our hound dog Riley.