Brentwood, TN--- The Food and Drug Administration has approved a new device that could help Middle Tennesseans struggling with addictions to heroin or painkillers.
The first-of-its-kind device, Probuphine, is an implant that goes under the skin and delivers a low dose of buprenorphine over six months. It is designed to curb craving and withdrawal symptoms, and help patients avoid relapses that can occur if they miss a dose of their medication.
A spokesperson at Addiction Campuses in Brentwood said the device, combined with treatment, could help people battling addictions.
“We think it’s great,” said Brian Sullivan, Director of Public Relations for Addiction Campuses. “It’s a good step in the right direction to stop opioid abuse and fight this epidemic.”
Doctors will be required to undergo special training on how to insert and remove the implant. Around 2200 health care providers across the country have already have signed up for training.
More than 2.5 million Americans are addicted to opioids, according to federal estimates. But less than half are receiving medication-based treatment to help control the problem.
Numbers from Addiction Campuses show Davidson County had 129 overdoses involving opioids including heroin in 2014, and officials said numbers continue to climb.
“People need to realize this is happening all around them,” said Sullivan. “Throw the idea of a stereotypical drug addict out of your mind. It doesn’t exist anymore. It isn’t someone on the street, it is the person next door who you would least expect.”
John Mabry’s addiction to pain medication started after a car accident. He endured 14 surgeries, and ultimately had his leg amputated.
“I had access to pain pills and it sent me on a 10 year journey to get me to the point where I needed to ask for help,” said Mabry.
Mabry received treatment at Addiction Campuses and now works for the company. He hopes to share his struggles with others as they begin their recovery process.
“Just because I’m an addict, I’m not a bad person,” said Mabry. “I needed help. We need to reach out for help.”
If you need more information on illegal drug, prescription drugs, or alcohol addiction treatment programs, you can call Addiction Campuses at 1-888-614-2251 or visit www.addictioncampuses.com.