The Wyoming Department of Health has received a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to help expand treatment for prescription drug and heroin abuse in the state. The administration has flagged Wyoming as an at-risk state due to recent increases in heroin and other opioid use among the state's residents.
Margarete Loghry, the program manager for the grant, says medication assisted treatment uses something called opioid antagonist medications. These meds essentially block the brain's opioid receptors and prevent users from experiencing highs. "You do this drug, you get this euphoria, you feel fabulous - and that's then what is the glory of doing it and why people become so quickly addicted to it. And so what these medications do is they basically block that receptor that gives you that euphoria. so even if you were to use while taking these medications, you would not get the same effect," Loghry says.
Loghry says this type of medication is intended to be used alongside existing treatment practices. "While the medication can do its job, folks in recovery, they have to do their job by having their support systems in place and getting to their meetings and their therapy sessions and all of the other things that work into a comprehensive recovery program," she says.
The Wyoming Department of Health plans to incorporate the treatment into existing public treatment programs in Rock Springs and Casper.