POMEROY — The first individual to complete the Vivitrol program as ordered through Meigs County Common Pleas Court was recognized on Wednesday.
John Buzzard of Middleport began the program a year ago and received his last shot on Tuesday.
Vivitrol is one of the newest tools in the fight against the heroin epidemic. It is a prescription injectable medicine used to treat dependence on opioids and/or alcohol.
According to the Vivitrol website, the active ingredient, naltrexone, works as a “blocker.” It attaches to certain opioid receptors in the brain and blocks the pleasurable feelings associated with taking opioids. Even though it may block the intense high from opioids, it does not prevent good feelings that come from other naturally pleasurable activities. After getting a dose of Vivitrol, its blocking effect slowly decreases and completely goes away over time.
Meigs County currently has five individuals enrolled in the program, with the injections administered through Health Recovery Services.
Buzzard was convicted of trafficking heroin and said that that he had been to jail and the STAR program (in-patient rehabilitation), but neither of those worked.
Last fall, Buzzard said, Judge Carson Crow placed him in the Vivitrol program at a time when he could have been sent back to jail. Although there was some doubt about whether he could be successful in the program, Buzzard should that he would succeed.
“It is the best thing that could have happened,” said Buzzard of the opportunity for Vivitrol.
Throughout the year he was in the program, Buzzard received monthly injections. In addition to the injections, counseling is also part of the program.
“I don’t think about wanting to use,” said Buzzard of life since he started the program.
Buzzard’s family, including daughter, Makenzie, were in attendance on Wednesday as he was recognized for the completion of the program.