Republican Proposed Medicaid Cuts Endanger Addiction Treatment: Experts

Cuts to Medicaid proposed by Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate jeopardize addiction treatment, NPR reports.

In Pennsylvania, more than 124,000 residents depend on Medicaid for addiction treatment. The state’s Medicaid program currently pays for addiction treatment with Vivitrol, a monthly injection that costs about $1,000 a dose. A person receiving the shots also has weekly therapy sessions and visits with a recovery coach, also paid for by Medicaid. Pennsylvania, which expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, pays no more than 10 percent of costs for patients who gained coverage under the expansion. The federal government funds the rest.

Full story of proposed Medicaid cuts and addiction treatment at drugfree.org

Vermont Program Offers Vivitrol to Departing Inmates to Fight Heroin Addiction

Vermont is starting a pilot program this month that will offer the opioid addiction treatment Vivitrol to departing inmates at one correctional facility. If it is successful, the state plans to expand it to all seven of the state’s prisons, CBS News reports.

“Let’s start providing treatment and medicines that can actually get people back to productive lives,” Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin said. In 2014, Shumlin devoted his State of the State Message to what he called Vermont’s “full-blown heroin crisis.” The number of people in the state who have been treated for heroin abuse has quadrupled in the past decade, the article notes.

Vermont’s pilot program will be funded as part of a three-year, $3 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Vivitrol can cost more than $1,000 a month, but many insurance companies and Medicaid cover it, according to the article.

Full story of Vivitrol and fighting heroin addiction at drugfree.org

Some Jails and Prisons Provide Vivitrol for Departing Inmates to Reduce Opioid Use

About 100 jails and prisons nationwide are providing departing inmates with Vivitrol, a drug that treats opioid addiction, to reduce rates of addiction and reincarceration, The Boston Globe reports.

Vivitrol blocks receptors in the brain where opioids and alcohol attach, preventing the feelings of pleasure that these substances produce.

It is long-acting, which helps newly released inmates avoid going right back to opioid use during their first days of freedom. Vivitrol, unlike methadone and buprenorphine, does not produce a high, and cannot be diverted to street use, the article notes.

A person must abstain from opioid use for seven to 10 days before starting Vivitrol, which is not a problem for prisoners who had to detox behind bars.

Full story of prisons using Vivitrol to reduce opioid use at drugfree.org