This Mental Health Matters blog was written by Gerard Papp, D.O. who works with the Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Team at Ravenwood Health.

This is the third in a series of informational blogs for adults and their loved ones who are considering recovery. Although our discussion is clinical in nature, it is important to understand the science behind addiction. Please note that we also have appropriate programming for youth. If you have questions about our Substance Use Treatment Programs for yourself, a friend, a colleague, or family member please call (440) 285-3568.

CONCERN-

At Ravenwood Health, during the COVID-19 pandemic that has now been lingering for over a year, we have seen an increased number of individuals enduring:

· New or exacerbated mental illness

· Substance Use Disorder (SUD), including Alcohol, Opiates, Cannabis, Stimulant Use, including Meth and Cocaine, as well as Sedative Use, including Benzos

· A path leading to a shorted life span for Northeast Ohioans

We all need support sometimes.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS-

· Note that within the second blog in this series, we discussed a prescription of Buprenorphine for Opiate Use Disorder

· The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) accepts Extended-Release Injectable Naltrexone as a third Medication Assisted Treatment

· Another treatment prescribed by a medical professional could be an oral, or long-acting injectable medication called Naltrexone, otherwise known as Vivitrol

Our clinical team has noticed a steady increase of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) within the Geauga community during the pandemic. Vivitrol is one of the three MAT approved medications for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) and AUD. In the treatment of alcohol use, it is used for clients who have been able to abstain from alcohol in an outpatient setting before treatment is initiated. Extended-release injectable Vivitrol is administered monthly intramuscularly, usually into the gluteal muscle (buttock). This is usually preceded with a 50mg oral Naltrexone test dose.

In opioid use treatment, Vivitrol is used for the prevention of relapse after opioid detoxification and to be used only after the patient has been opioid free for seven to ten days. Also, the client must achieve a negative Naloxone challenge, meaning no symptoms of withdrawal should occur after an oral Naltrexone administration. Unfortunately, but not unanticipated, we are seeing an increase of relapse during the ongoing pandemic.

Vivitrol is currently used for approximately 20% of our MAT clients at Ravenwood Health. This medication requires a prescription by a physician or nurse practitioner. It acts as an opioid antagonist which displaces the opioid from the brain receptors to which they are bound. This can precipitate severe acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) if administered in persons who have not eliminated opioids from their system.

Recently, we have had very positive experiences treating Alcohol Use Disorder clients with Acamprosate, an oral medication that generally reduces an individual’s use of alcohol, often leading to abstinence.

Our team is to help you get through the tough times and back on track in treatment and in life. A new service we offer to our community is a virtual screening by our Crisis Team. If you are contemplating eradicating an addiction, please give our team a call at (440) 285-3568.

For an immediate need for support and resources, call our COPELINE anytime at (440) 285-5665.

I am reading the Pope Francis’s Fratelli Tutti: Encyclical letter on Fraternity and Social Friendship.