Heroin and opiate abuse on the rise; WDH receives $1M treatment grant

(Wyoming) - After seeing a significant rise in prescription drug abuse and heroin abuse, the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) has received funds to help combat the problem. The $1 million federal grant will help the WDH expand “Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)” services to help meet the state’s growing need for effective treatment of prescription drug and heroin abuse. In Jackson, law enforcement has seen also seen a rise in prescription drug abuse and heroin over the last year. "One of the largest problems that we have had in this community recently is prescription drugs," said Lt. Cole Nethercott with the Jackson Police Department. "And the people who are on prescription drugs are the same people who tend to go towards heroin because it is the same base drug. Heroin is cheaper and it is easier to get." Throughout the state, WDH data shows admissions into treatment for heroin have increased from 58 individuals in state fiscal year 2011 to 132 individuals in state fiscal year 2015. Opiates and other synthetic drug use treatment admissions have increased from 262 in state fiscal year 2011 to 345 in state fiscal year 2015. “Both heroin and opiate treatment admissions are unfortunately continuing an upward trend in the current fiscal year,” said Margarete Loghry, Quality Management and Outcomes Unit and MAT Grant Program manager with the WDH Behavioral Health Division. “Medication assisted treatment is an evidence-based practice that has been shown to be effective in helping people to achieve sustained recovery from opiate addiction,” Loghry said. Medication assisted treatment uses opioid antagonist medication therapies together with standard therapy and substance use treatment. Opioid antagonist medications bind to the brain’s opiate receptors so that opioids, including heroin, are blocked from creating a high in users while also preventing withdrawal symptoms. More information on MAT is available here. *Feature Photo: h/t Pixabay / Pitchengine Communities* #buckrail #news