SALT LAKE CITY (News4Utah) - A new device that fits in the palm of your hand could be the answer for recovering opioid addicts.
Odyssey House is the first treatment center in Utah to test this new device called the "Bridge." It fits behind the patient's ear and sends electrical feedback to the brain, blocking the symptoms of detoxing from opioids.
Randy Burton is the first patient to test out the device at Odyssey House. He said he started using drugs at age 17 and has been battling substance abuse on-and-off for the last ten years.
"I have been addicted to almost every substance I could find. Opioids was the big downfall for me," said Burton. "I started running my life into the ground. I got homeless. I was asking strangers for money and I got to the point where I was getting suicidal."
Burton said he tried multiple different treatments, but none kept his withdrawal symptoms under control. That changed when he was introduced to the Bridge at the Odyssey House.
"With the Bridge, I didn't have to put anything in my body. I didn't have to take a pill. When I got it put on me, I was shaking. I had a heart rate of like 95 and as soon as they put it on, my heart rate dropped and the anxiety started to go away. It's like a miracle device," said Burton. "It was the easiest detox I've ever been through.
Danele Cebrowski, a physician assistant at Odyssey House admitted she was skeptical of the device at first. But after using it on 10 patients, she said the Bridge is a game changer for substance abuse treatment.
"Within not even an hour of placing the device on a patient, they're feeling better, looking better, and regaining an appetite. It was an instant gratification that we don't see almost at all in medicine," said Cebrowski.
“Watching someone come from a physically hopeless space back to life with a simple device is completely mind blowing. It took most of the withdrawal symptoms away within minutes. It is a safer alternative to detoxing. This is exactly what we need," said Rachel Santizo, outreach specialist at Odyssey House.
After using the Bridge, Burton immediately went into the Adult Residential program at the Odyssey House. Staff said he is doing well in his recovery.
Cebrowski said they've tested 10 of the devices and they have two left. After that, patients will have to pay for the Bridge on their own, which could cost approximately $700 per patient. Staff said they hope insurance or medicaid will eventually cover the costs of the device.
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