Renaissance Ranch

Medication-Assisted Opiate Dependency Prevention

Apr 16, 2015

Opiates and opioids are medications prescribed for inducing sleep and relieving pain. When used correctly, they can offer the healing qualities they were made for, but when these medications are abused for their euphoric effects, it can lead to dependency and even addiction. Such addiction can be extremely difficult to overcome due to the heavy withdrawal symptoms associated with suddenly stopping opiate use after a prolonged period of abuse.

For those suffering from dependency on, or addiction to, opiates and opioids, medication is often a necessary part of treatment. A prescribed medication during dependency or addiction recovery is essential for helping battle withdrawal symptoms and reducing the likelihood of relapse during recovery. Read on to learn about Renaissance Ranch’s approach to medication-assisted addiction prevention for opiate dependent clients.


Naltrexone is a medication used to treat opiate and opioid dependency. It helps those dependent on opiates regain the mental stability they had prior to all of the drug-induced highs and lows. It is an opioid blocker, or opioid antagonist, which means it blocks the opioid receptor sites in the brain. This stops those taking the medication from getting “high” on the problem drug.

Oral medication

Naltrexone is often prescribed in pill form, which is available as a lower cost generic or as one of two trade name medications—ReVia® and Depade®. This pill is taken every 1 to 3 days.

Extended-release medication

There is also an extended-release form of this medication available called Vivitrol®, which is injected in the buttocks. An injection of Vivitrol is administered by a physician or other treatment provider once a month. This form of extended-release medication is an especially good choice for those suffering from opiate dependency because the opioid-blocking effects last for a month without interruption, and the patient receiving treatment is not required to take new medication every 1 to 3 days. We prefer this method and recommend it to all of our clients during both Residential and Outpatient programs.

Naltrexone treatment can begin once a person recovering from opiate dependency has completed the detox process, as the body must be free of opioids before starting naltrexone. Treatment will then last as long as it is needed and prescribed by a physician to prevent relapse. When used properly under the supervision of a trained professional, naltrexone will play a central role in recovery from opiate dependency.

Vivitrol/Naltrexone: The Effects

At Renaissance Ranch Outpatient, we believe that people can get help through solutions centered on the teachings of the gospel. This is the most effective way to get people off their addictions and return as a functioning member of society. But, the process still needs some help from medical science, which is why the ranch also has a medical aspect that aids the process.

Science and Gospel Working Together

Dr. Scott A.Erickson MD is the Ranch’s addiction specialist and is a nationally recognized leader in his field. Vivitrol/Naltrexone plays a crucial role in his treatments, and it’s proven effective in helping people overcome their addiction. But, when most people hear the word, they become suspicious of the treatment and treat it with caution.

People don’t have to worry about the treatment as it’s one of the most common treatments for helping recovering addicts. Vivitrol helps block the effects of narcotics and alcohol and relieve patients of their obsessive need for drugs and alcohol. This isn’t a panacea, as it takes skill and experience to administer the medicine, and there are different conditions that patients need to meet first.

Vivitrol Use

First, patients don’t get a shot of Vivitrol at the start of their stay because the effort to heal needs to come from them. In addition, the medicine is actually dangerous for people who display recent symptoms of alcoholism and drug abuse. Think of the medical treatment as a safety net, more than the end-all solution.

For Dr. Erickson to clear a patient to receive Vivitrol, they shouldn’t have used any kind of narcotics or alcohol in seven to ten days. Patients should also have all symptoms of their past use eliminated from their system.

Vivitrol is to help patients stop from reverting to their old ways once they leave the ranch. This is where most patients fail, and what makes Renaissance Ranch Outpatient different. We don’t just take care of people while they’re with us; we make sure they’re well enough to never come back again. Contact us today to know more about our programs and services.

HR Brown is the founder and President of Renaissance Ranch and an Advanced Substance Use Disorder Counselor. He has worked in the substance abuse field for the last 12 years as well as an additional 15 years of finance and business management experience. Through his personal experience in recovery, HR has developed a passion for helping people understand and overcome the disease of addiction.

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