Vivitrol treatment option may be coming to county

A new option for drug and alcohol treatment may be on its way to Venango County this summer.

Positive Recovery Solutions of Pittsburgh runs a mobile unit providing the Vivitrol injection and the county is in the process of establishing a contract with them to bring the van here once a month, said Marie Plumer, Venango County substance abuse director.

Plumer shared the news last week at a meeting of the Venango County Drug Abuse Task Force in Franklin.

Vivitrol (naltrexone) is a once-a-month injection that controls cravings for opioid drugs and alcohol.

“The beauty of Vivitrol is that is has no street value,” Plumer said. Still, the injection is not for everyone, she said.

People must be off opioid drugs such as heroin or prescription pain medications for seven to 14 days before using Vivitrol or sudden withdrawal may result. That can require hospitalization, according to prescribing information.

People may also not drink alcohol while taking Vivitrol.

The drug also comes with a number of side effects including nausea, fatigue, vomiting and others, according to the prescribing information.

The county is still in the process of ironing out the details of the Vivitrol van but the plans are that it would stop here once per month, Plumer said. Hopefully, the van will make its first visit here in July, she said.

People who get the Vivitrol shot would have to organize their care through providers with Positive Recovery Solutions, Plumer said. They would also have to agree to ongoing drug and alcohol treatment and submit to drug tests, she said.

People who are using suboxone or methadone for the medical treatment of drug addiction could potentially switch to Vivitrol, but that would have to be approved through providers at PRS, Plumer said.

Plumer added that most insurance plans are covering the Vivitrol shot.

“It’s definitely a viable option,” Plumer said.