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New implant to aid patients in battle against opioid and prescription painkiller addiction

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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – The U. S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved a first of its kind implant to treat heroin and prescription painkiller abuse.

The probuphine implant is about the size of a matchstick and administers buprenorphine for six months, a drug that helps ease opioid cravings.

“We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic that is killing 30,000 people a year in the United States,” explained Dr. Richard Rosenthal, a researcher at Mount Sinai.

Dr. Rosenthal believes the probuphine implant may be a game-changer for addiction treatment.

Katie Burlingame received the implant in June after battling an 11-year prescription pill addiction.

“I haven’t had any cravings,” Burlingame said.

“Life’s been pretty good since this has gone in,” she said.  “I don’t even feel like it’s there, it’s just a part of me now.”

So far the FDA approval is only for patient treatment for a year with the probuphine implant.