New approach to battling addiction

Published 06/26 2014 11:04AM

Updated 06/26 2014 07:37PM

LOS ANGELES, CA -- There's a new approach to battling addiction that could have the potential to save lives.

It's an implantable drug that makes it easier to quit, by reducing or eliminating the cravings.

Doctor Bruce Hensel has the story of 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 80's sitcom Growing Pains, he was used to the public spotlight. But his life turned dark at age 19 when he began drinking heavily. For years; all day every day.  "I realized I can't live like this anymore. I can't. I can't do it. And for 3 years I struggled to stop," says Jeremy Miller.  

But nothing worked. Then he discovered Start Fresh Recovery and Dr. George Fallieras' 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."

"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," adds Miller.  

Allowing him to finally focus on the counseling he needed to change his behavior.  "Once they receive the medicine, they say to their counselors now I can focus; now I can hear you," says Fallieras'

The medication is implanted inside the abdomen during a 20 minute out patient 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 2 years now. He was so impressed with his recovery; he's now working for the center as a patient advocate.  "Sobriety is an incredible feeling. I could not imagine back then the life that I have now."

This is not a magical cure and not the answer for everyone.

The medication is only one part of the program.

You still have to commit to the counseling and behavioral changes that are part of recovery.

The program costs around $20,000, but insurance may cover a portion of the cost.

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