New, longer-acting injection to help beat opioid addiction

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Several dozen people in West Michigan have already started receiving a new, longer-acting injection to help them wean from opioids.

Patrick Dugan, 50, will add his name to that list next week.

“This is an injection that lasts for 28 days,” said Dugan in an interview from his doctor’s office in Grand Rapids Friday morning. “So now I’ve got an injection I get once a month.”

That’s a big improvement over the two daily doses of Suboxone he’s been taking to help maintain his recovery from heroin addiction, Dugan said.

Sublocade, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in November 2017, is an injectable form of Suboxone, a medication that cuts cravings and withdrawal sickness from opioids.

“They don’t have to take the medication two, three times a day and they’re able to concentrate on what really gets people better,” said Sandy Dettmann, Dugan’s addiction doctor. “That is the psychosocial interventions, the twelve-step meetings, the individual therapy, the group therapy, learning to rebuild their lives, learning coping skills.”

For Dugan, starting Sublocade once a month means he won’t be reminded daily of the decade-long heroin addiction that nearly killed him and devastated his family.

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