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Vivitrol providing hope for some addicted to heroin and opioids

Many public health officials and advocates are turning to prescription medication to help addicts kick the habit
Many public health officials and advocates are turning to prescription medication to help addicts kick the habit

In the search for solutions to Ohio’s opioid epidemic, many public health officials and advocates are talking about boosting access to treatment programs that use prescription medication to help an addict kick the habit.   

This medication assisted treatments include, methadone, which has been around for decades and buprenorphine, commonly known as Suboxone. The newest is naltrexone which is commonly known as Vivitrol. 

Vivitrol, in particular, has many recovering addicts and the people who treat them saying it may be the best answer yet to preventing relapse. It helps quell cravings and lessen withdrawal symptoms to help prevent relapses, but since it’s  usually delivered in a monthly shot, it’s difficult to abuse or sell.

In the continuing Be Well Series on opioids, Marlene Harris-Taylor exams Vivitrol, and how it is providing hope for some addicts who have tried nearly everything else to get sober.

The radio and TV reports feature two local people who are fighting their sobriety with Vivitrol and counseling.

Bernadette Lucarella is currently living in a 90-day recovery home for women in Cleveland Heights. She’s tried to stop using heroin many times, but each time, she’s failed. Lucarella started the Vivitrol shot last March and so far it’s working.

“It’s scary out there but I need to leave one day and use my tools and cope with life. I’m not going out without a fight but I’m definitely going to keep taking my Vivitrol shot,” she said.


Lorain County resident Chase Callander started using heroin when he was 16 years old and has been in and out of jail, and through multiple detox programs. Callender also overdosed last December. He started the Vivitrol shot that same month.

“I have five months’ sober yesterday so, it’s going a lot better than it has in my past” Callendar said recently.

“It helps with cravings so that huge. I think I was ready this time. I’ve never been so low in my life than this last run took me. I lost everything. I was homeless I had no money. I was stealing daily, robbing people, robbing stores doing whatever I had to do to get high every morning and I’ve never been like that before,” he added

Marlene Harris-Taylor
Marlene is the director of engaged journalism at Ideastream Public Media.