A new approach to battling addiction that could potentially save lives. It s an implantable drug that makes it easier to quit by reducing or eliminating the cravings.
The method has helped a former child TV star who struggled for years with alcohol addiction.
Jeremy Miller grew up on television as one of the child stars of the 1980 s sitcom Growing Pains, but his life turned dark at the age of 19. He began drinking heavily all day every day.
I realized I can t live like this anymore. I can t. I can t do it. And for three years I struggled to stop, said Miller.
Nothing worked. Then he discovered a clinic with a new approach to treating addiction: an implantable form of the drug naltrexone.
So patients get a very low but effective dose of this medication to help eliminate these compulsive cravings to drink or use drugs, said Dr. George Fallieras.
What you notice is that lack of craving of need that is such a part of you and all a sudden it s like someone flicked off the light switch, said Miller.
That allowed him to finally focus on changing his behavior.
Once they receive the medicine, they say to their counselors now I can focus, now I can hear you, said Dr. Fallieras.
The pellet is implanted inside the abdomen during an outpatient procedure. It slowly dissolves over 6-8 months, giving the addict a chance to fully participate in their therapy and counseling programs without the withdrawal.
Jeremy s been sober for more than two years now. He was so impressed with his recovery, he s now working as a patient advocate.
Sobriety is an incredible feeling, he said. I could not imagine back then the life that I have now.
You still have to commit to the behavioral changes that are part of recovery.
The implant is not yet approved by the FDA, but you can get naltrexone by prescription in pill and once-a-month injections.