Opioid addiction is cruel in many ways. But the worst part may be the way addicts have to get clean: they have to endure tremendous physical pain for several days before treatment can actually start.
“The fear,” says state Sen. Jim Merritt, “is the pain and the thought is, ‘Can I actually do this?’"
A company called Innovative Health Solutions may have the answer to help people shed their opioid addiction. The company's new device, "the Bridge," is essentially a pain blocker that sends an electrical pulse to nerves at the base of the brain. That signal reduces or eliminates the pain of withdrawal.
“It’s kind of like a runner's high,” says CEO Gary Peterson. “If you’ve ever run, you get that feeling, kind of the endorphin rush. You feel calm; you have a warm feeling that comes over you. There’s very little anxiety. That’s what it feels like for most people, initially.”
But to be effective, the device has to be used as part of a total treatment protocol. That protocol is being tested right now in Union County, Ind.
“The patient comes to the Union County Health Clinic run by Jeff Matthews and Alvin Day,” says Brian Carrico. “They have an insurance navigator that helps the patient get insurance. They get the Bridge device that helps them get through the detox, very comfortably. Day five, they come back, patients get a vivitrol shot and they get counseling in the same location. It’s a one-stop shop.”
Seven other Indiana counties are using the Bridge as well. The makers would like to take it nationwide.
“Can you say to someone who is addicted to opioids that this is truly going to help them?” asked CBS4’s Debby Knox.
“Absolutely,” said Carrico. “There’s no question.”
The device costs close to $500 in Union County and is manufactured and distributed by a Jeffersonville, Ind., company.
4 Your Health is from American Senior Communities