Buvidal - Opioid Medication

A new medication has been hailed as a "game changer" in the fight against opioid addiction. Anna Youssef Reporter and Producer, ITV Granada

Buvidal is the first new drug in a decade to tackle addiction to heroin, morphine and opiate-based painkillers.

It is injected once a month, which means those using it do not have to visit a chemist every day to pick up a methadone prescription and can focus on improving their lives rather than managing their dependence.

Stephen first started smoking heroin when he was 13

Stephen became addicted to heroin when he was 13.

He stole to pay for his habit. Now 55, he has spent more than half his life in prison.

In January, after a near-fatal overdose, he was offered the chance to try Buvidal. Stephen says it has stopped his heroin cravings and saved his life.

“I've got no thoughts about using again. It's given me a fresh outlook on life and it really works. I just wish other people could have the chance to use it.”

Stephen's addiction cost him a hundred pounds a day.

He was also on methadone and would often get high on heroin while queuing at the chemist to pick up his prescription.

Buvidal works by blocking the opioid receptors in the brain which helps stop withdrawals.

“We've never had a lot of treatment options in this field of medicine...so to have another option is always a brilliant thing. If I had a family member who had an opioid dependency this would be the medication I would want them to be on.”
Harriet Lynch, Wirral Ways, Lead Nurse

Hope developed an addiction to prescription painkillers

Hope's family found out about her addiction to painkillers after she overdosed and ended up in hospital.

She found help at the treatment service Wirral Ways but struggled with her recovery.

Hope, who is 24, says being prescribed Buvidal was a turning point.

“It's completely blocked out any cravings. I'm more emotionally stable. I can go and do stuff that I enjoy. I can go to work. I'm just a lot happier.”

Drug deaths across the North West are at their highest since records began. There has been a 22% rise in the past six years.

Public Health England has released an extra £80 million to increase access to drug treatment and the success of this pilot in Wirral means the charity behind it, Change, Grow, Live, will help roll it out nationally.

“I would describe it as a gamechanger but also a lifesaver. I think it will help reduce the stigma of treatment. They don't have to scramble every day to get to a chemist and that can make a massive difference for people. It can help them engage in longer-term treatment with better outcomes.”

Ariella Williams, Change, Grow Live, Associate Director of Nursing

Stephen wants others battling Opioid addiction to know things can change for the better.

After being homeless for the past six years he has just moved into his own flat.

For the first time in a long time, he says he feels free.

Progress - National Consortium of Consultant Nurses in Dual Diagnosis & Substance Use