Researchers use virtual reality to help addicts kick heroin addiction

Researchers use virtual reality to help addicts kick heroin addiction


RESOURCES AT CLICK2HOUSTON.COM/OPIOIDNATIO>>>JAIL DOESN’T MAKE SOMEBODY SOBER. IT WON’T MAKE SOMEBODY CLEAN. AND IT CERTAINLY WON’T GIVE THEM THE TOOLS THEY NEED TO SURVIVE. BUT STAR CAN.>>YOU’RE LOOKING AT A VIDEO POSTED ON THE STAR DRUG COURT WEB PAGE. STAR, WHICH STANDS FOR SUCCESS THROUGH ADDICTION RECOVERY, HAS BEEN PART OF THE HARRIS COUNTY DISTRICT COURT SYSTEM SINCE 2003. ACROSS THE COUNTRY DRUG COURTS AIMED TO GIVE NONVIOLENT DRUG OFFENDERS A CHANCE AT REHABILITATION. A CHANCE TO AVOID BEING LOCKED UP. WITHOUT THAT CHANCE, THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DRUG COURT PROFESSIONALS SAYS AS MANY AS 95% OF INCARCERATED ADDICTS RETURN TO DRUG ABUSE AFTER THEY’RE RELEASED. DRUG COURTS ARE SET TO NOT ONLY REDUCE RELAPSE BUT ARE ALSO SAID TO BE MORE COST EFFECTIVE.>>A LOT IS BEING DONE IN BOTH THE COURTS AND ACROSS HOUSTON TO COMBAT THE OPIOID CRISIS. KPRC MEDICAL REPORTER HAILEY HERNANDEZ SHOWS US THE INNOVATIVE WAYS HOUSTON RESEARCHERS AND DOCTORS ARE WORKING TO STOP ADDICTION.>>HEY, COME ON IN. WHAT’S YOUR NAME?>>Reporter: TUCKED AWAY IN A SMALL ROOM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON IS A CAVE. INSIDE THIS CAVE, RESEARCHERS ARE USING VIRTUAL REALITY TO HELP ADDICTS KICK THEIR HEROIN ADDICTION.>>I BELIEVE THAT IT IS THE FIRST IN THE NATION TO BE ABLE TO INVESTIGATE THE USE OF THIS TECHNOLOGY AROUND HEROIN AND OPIATES.>>Reporter: MIKEY OVERSEES DAY-TO-DAY OPERATIONS.>>THISTHIS IS VERY CUTTING EDGE.>>Reporter: ADDICTS STRAP ON A HEADSET AND NAVIGATE THROUGH A HOUSE PARTY SCENARIO, DETAILS LIKE AN OPEN PIZZA BOX TO A SPOON AND SYRINGE ARE MEANT TO ENHANCE SENSATIONS AND TRIGGER A HEROIN CRAVING.>>IN THIS CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT, WE’RE TEACHING THEM COPING SKILLS.>>Reporter: THIS WOULD NOT REPLACE TRADITIONAL THERAPY.>>IF WE CAN HAVE MULTIPLE TOOLS TO HELP PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO COMBAT THEIR ADDICTION, WE’RE GIVING THEM A BETTER CHANCE AT SUCK EZ.>>Reporter: INSIDE THIS SMALL HOSPITAL JUST OFF THE SOUTHWEST FREEWAY, MORE POTENTIAL BREAKTHROUGHS.>>WHAT I’VE SEEN SO FAR HAS BEEN AMAZING.>>Reporter: DR. MEANINGO WITS IS LEADING A CLINICAL TRIAL, HOW TO PREVENT PEOPLE FROM BECOMING ADDICTED IN THE FIRST PLACE.>>IT’S A PROBLEM. PEOPLE ARE BEING GIVEN THE OPIOIDS POST-OPERATIVELY, TAKING THEM HOME, AND BECOMING CHRONIC USE YEARS OPIOID ADDICTION CAN SET IN AS AS LITTLE AS SEVEN DAYS. SO HE’S TESTING OUT A POTENTIAL MIRACLE SOLUTION IN THE OPERATING ROOM DURING EXTREME SURGERIES LIKE A TUMMY TUCK.>>DURING THE SURGERY PATIENTS ARE GIVEN OPIOIDS DURING THE SURGERY BECAUSE — IT’S A VERY LARGE OPERATION.>>Reporter: BUT AFTER THE SURGERY ENDS, THIS SPECIAL GOO IS PLACED OVER THE WOUND.>>THE OPIOID USE END PUNS THE PATIENT LEAVES T OPERATING ROOM.>>Reporter: SAID HER TUMMY TUCK RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS.>>POST-OPSURGERY AFTER THAT, WHEN WE WENT HOME, I DIDN’T NEED ANY MEDICATION.>>Reporter: THIS IS A DOUBLE-BLIND STUDY. THERE IS A PLACEBO GROUP AND A CONTROL GROUP. BUT NEITHER THE PATIENT NOR DOCTOR KNOW WHICH GROUP THEY’RE IN.

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