It is not news again that drug addiction is an epidemic and still a problem on the rise in the global society. Drug addiction is the uncontrollable usage of drugs ─ opioids (heroin) for unexplainable reasons or for pleasure. Frequently, addicted drug users find it challenging to get over their addiction. Although therapy and rehabilitation sometimes work ─ not all the time. For this reason, health practitioners have thought of a way to help drug addicts get over their dependence on drugs.
Furthermore, abuse of drugs can affect our well-being (physical and mental health). However, in the means of seeking solutions to this addiction problem, drug implants came into existence. They are a new measure of combination therapy for addiction treatment purposes.
Significant progress has been associated with this treatment method that requires implanting a little rod-like medication into individuals struggling with addiction. These implants work on their brains and nervous system. Subsequently, scientists and medical personnel have been working tirelessly over the years to eradicate addiction from our society. However, with these implants, the battle is almost over.
Firstly, consider implants as slow-releasing drugs that work over a long period. Implants are medications that doctors insert surgically into and underneath your muscle. These implants will slowly release medications into your body over a long period. Though, most (not all) of these drugs are typical oil suspensions.
Furthermore, the truth about medications is that lipid drugs are readily absorbed and distributed in the body. That means that oily medicines have a higher chance of entering the body and spreading all over than drugs with aqueous characteristics. However, implants are generally inserted into the muscles, especially the shoulders, and they block the effect and addictive tendencies of the drugs used by the addicts.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 81,230 death resulting from overdose occurred in the United States in June 2019 and May 2020. Drug addiction is causing a lot of harm in our society. Subsequently, pharmacists and medical practitioners are coming up with solutions to this danger, one of which is implants for drug addictions. These implants have advantages over oral medications and can be viable upto 6 months.
You should know that these implants are new advancements from clinical pharmaceutical scientists. The FDA (Food and Disease Administration) recently gave approval for some of these implants to be marketed and prescribed to patients. Some of these date back to the year 2016.
Implants have a way of negating the effect of the drugs addicts use. These implants have long-lasting effects on abstinence and can help you stay away from opioids for a long time.
Not only do they help you stay away, but they also reduce your cravings for alcohol, opioids, and other drugs. When these cravings reduce to the nearest minimum, withdrawal syndrome reduces, and the appetite for these drugs gradually wears off.
Sometimes, implants also help people with relapses after rehabilitation. These implanted drugs have a long duration of action, so it takes time to rewire the nerve impulses that have been connected to drugs like opiates.
Other types of opioids that you can get addicted to include;
Opium alkaloids: codeine, morphine, thebaine
Synthetic: tramadol, methadone
Semi-synthetic: Heroin, ethylmorphine, oxycodone, raw opium etc.
Opioids give a feeling of being “high” and also have a neural pathway in the brain that makes the user feel ecstatic and enthusiastic. This pathway is similar to the way endorphins make us happy and how dopamine pumps us with energy and excitement and makes us feel good. These Opioids bind to receptors in the brain and produce these feelings.
However, your first use of opioids like fentanyl and heroin will open a pathway similar to endorphins and dopamine. Your continual usage of these opioids will strengthen your neural pathway. Furthermore, this will make your brain adapt and become dependent on using such opioids before you can be energized and excited.
The good news is that these implants are antagonists of these opioids and will negate the effects on the brain. They eliminate the process of being “High”. For example, implants like Naltrexone eliminate the ability to get high.
Naltrexone, for example, will take over the brain’s receptor and bind to the Opioids. In other words, it takes over the receptors in the brain and stops the opioids from binding to the brain’s receptors. Since the opioid doesn’t bind to the brain’s receptors, these feelings are eliminated.
Furthermore, the beautiful thing about this drug -Naltrexone- is that it is effective against overdose, and you can use it in cases of acute overdose attack. For this reason, people (paramedics) often carry shots of this medication with them in case of emergencies like an overdosed driver in a car accident.
Generally, your doctor will administer this implant under your skin through a minor surgical procedure. For example, your doctor might administer the implant under the skin of your abdomen where there is fat. Some others may be in the muscles ─ the shoulder being an example- while others in the thighs.
Before administering these implants, your preferred body part for the process will be numb by your surgeon (using local anesthesia) before the surgeon administers the drug implant. Furthermore, they will make a small incision on your skin’s surface and inject the implant under your skin with a syringe. The incised skin is then closed and properly sutured and bandaged. This whole process takes less than 30 minutes in all.
Generally, drug implants are safe for use. However, just like any medical procedure, many complications may arise. Although, these complications may arise from the negligence of the medical personnel or the variations in humans. Make sure you ask your doctor about the possible complications you may face. On your side, consider your doctor your confidant and relate with them if you have a history of some medical conditions. This will make it a win-win situation.
There may be a few guidelines you should know about if you’re considering an implant for yourself or someone close to you.
Firstly, receiving this implant close to Opioid use is not advisable. It is strongly recommended that you stay opioid-free for about ten days before getting this implant. Failure to follow this guideline above may lead to an acute withdrawal syndrome.
Furthermore, there may be the possibility of overdosing on drugs while on the implant. Here’s why; the implants eliminate this addiction by antagonizing these opioids. But excessive use of opioids overwhelms the implants and overrides their actions in the nervous system.
Drug abuse and overdose can lead to respiratory arrests, circulatory collapse, and even death. Also, some implants are not suitable for adolescents and children. Treating adolescents and teenagers who use drugs is a pertinent issue in our world. Treating teenagers and adolescents with some implants can be dangerous.
Generally, Implants cure Opioid disorder and alcohol dependency. But as you read earlier, they are associated with some complications. Most complications are local and not systemic. This means that most reactions are at the site of the implant and not generally on the body system.
Some of them are:
However, one way to overcome this depression is to pick up new hobbies. They could be football, basketball, or some video games.
Finally, family and friends should stick around during these periods (about 6 – 12 months after getting the implant) to get you out of the depression hole.
Other side effects are nausea, constipation, and toothache. It is worth noting that drug addicts can still overdose when they’re on implants.
Finally, Implants are advancements recently made in the field of medicine to conquer drug addiction and its devastating consequences on our population. The FDA recently approved implants, and research is going on to improve their effects. There are still some drug implants, such as naltrexone, that your doctor can use for addiction treatment.
No, Food and Drug Administration body regulates the usage of these implants. Therefore, you can get these implants at a registered facility. However, remember that if a registered physician does not prescribe them, you cannot access them.
Implants are typically a comfortable form of an overpowering addiction. As humans, there may be some possibility of forgetfulness, and the stress of swallowing pills can often be challenging. However, implants’ comfort will make you forget swallowing pills as these slow-releasing medications will take care of all that is needed regarding drug addiction.