New device aims to help heroin addicts get through withdrawal

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- People batting heroin addiction will tell you the drug is so powerful, they have to use it just so they don't feel sick. 

It's one of many obstacles that can keep people from getting clean. But a company based in Versailles, Ind., has created a device called The Bridge to make going through withdrawal to opiates easier. 

"It helps them deal with the pain," said Brian Carrico, Vice President of Sales at Innovative Health Solutions.

The pain of withdrawal can come in many forms, according to experts. 

"They feel pretty miserable. Generally, they will have a runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of energy, not really wanting to eat, lethargic," said Alice Maynor, a clinical manager for Turning Point Center in Jeffersonville, which provides supervised detox. 

While many programs provide medical assistance to people getting off drugs, The Bridge is a new option. 

"It treats at the level of the brain and affects the part of the brain that fires pain signals and stops that part of the brain from firing pain signals," Carrico said. 

Carrico says once the device is implanted around the ear, the patient has it for four to five days. That's about how long it takes to go through withdrawal. 

"It allows them to transition to treatment and recovery, which is ultimately the most important piece of someone becoming better," Carrico said. 

He says the The Bridge was cleared by the FDA about six months ago and is now being used across Indiana and the country. 

Tuesday, Carrico says he met with health officials in Scott County about bringing the technology there. 

"We thought initially this would really help with addition," Carrico said. "We now thing this will change the face of recovery globally."

Carrico says each device is $495, but company officials are working to get it covered by insurance. He says local health departments have been able to offer the device with grant money. 

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