SPECIAL REPORT: Hope for Addicts with Vivitrol
Vivitrol is a once a month injection that's revolutionizing the way doctors treat alcohol and drug dependency.
But the injection costs $1,200 a month without insurance.
Hipolito Fonseca has been addicted to heroin and pills for the last six years.
"When you're high on heroin you're addicted to it. Your body needs it. You just need something to deal with life," said Fonseca.
Fonseca said when his mom died; his son and he went into a very deep depression.
He said getting hooked is easy, but getting away from it is a different story.
"When I didn't do it that's when all the sickness and vomit, withdrawal, can't sleep,” said Fonseca.
He tried using methadone, which is a common treatment for heroin addiction.
"Those used to calm me down," said Fonseca.
Eventually those no longer work.
So when Gladys Quinones approached him about a new treatment and he jumped on it.
"The way she talked to me about it I didn't even think about it twice," said Fonseca.
Fonseca said the injection works for him.
Gladys was referring to Vivitrol.
It is a once a month injection that's revolutionizing the way doctors treat alcohol and drug dependency.
Doctor Manuel Thomas is one of the few physicians in the Milwaukee area who provides the treatment.
"We cannot just wait and sit and let this people destroy their lives and their family's lives as well," said Thomas.
He has about 35 patients who get the shot once a month.
One of them is Gladys' brother.
"My brother was in drugs really bad using heroin for 4 years," said Gladys.
After hearing about Vivitrol, she convinced her brother to try it three months ago.
It's amazing to some, but doctors warn-the shot alone isn't a cure.
"We need family support. We need friend support because they don't want to feel lonely. They don't want to feel abandoned by society,” said Thomas.
Doctor Galvis Reig also offers the treatment at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare All Saints in Racine.
"I think it's a very good treatment and could potentionally revolutionize addiction treatment because of its availability," said Reig.
But the cost of the injection each month is a challenge for patients.
Without any insurance it's about 1,200.
Regardless, Gladys insists there's a way and she's now spreading the word about the injection because it's saving her brother's life.
"A lot of people don't know about this injection,” said Gladys.
So far she's recruited four people including Hipolito.
And hopes the shot will change his life as well.