Start Fresh program has high success rate to end alcoholism - KMSP-TV

Start Fresh program has high success rate to end alcoholism

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Alcoholism is one of the most devastating problems in America. Studies show 53% of adults in the United States report one or more of their close relatives has a drinking problem.

And once through recovery most alcoholics return to their drinking habits. But not at "Start Fresh," an addiction recovery program that boasts some amazing results.

"I couldn't deal with the pain," said Ray.

Ray lives in Phoenix with his wife and Duke the dog. Ray is also the father of five, all grown sons, one of which is deployed to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division.

Ray had a hard time dealing with the anxiety of his youngest son in harms way. "It hit a little close to home when he lost his battle buddy," said Ray.

He found relief in alcohol.

"So drinking took the pain away, and the only problem was the next day the pain came back," he said.

After some unsuccessful attempts at different recovery methods, a friend told him about "Start Fresh."

"I always say get your fresh start at Start Fresh," said Ray.

"The Start Fresh program is a program to help people reduce the cravings for alcohol, to help them stop drinking," said Dr. Catherine O'Connell.

Doctor Catherine O'Connell is part of the Start Fresh program; it's a local network of doctors and therapists that help alcoholics eliminate the craving for a drink.

"My role in the program is to do pre-surgical psychological evaluations," said O'Connell.

The procedure is very simple and usually takes between 15 to 20 minutes. As explained in an animation provided by Start Fresh two pellets of a compound including naltexone are inserted under the skin in the abdominal area. Start Fresh patients do not have to worry about taking a pill every day.

Instead, the pellets dissolve over a year's time.

"It eliminates the cravings for alcohol opioids because it eliminates the euphoric effect, or that high effect people get from these substances," she said.

Naltrexone is approved by the FDA for alcohol recovery in 1998. But the way Start Fresh uses it is relatively new and not well known in the medical community.

"It's underutilized, and I think the development of a long lasting pellet is one of the things that is going to make its use more convenient and more successful," said O'Connell.

Doctor O'Connell said when combined with Start Fresh life coaching the program has a very high recovery rate. "The success rate for the Start Fresh program is about 85 percent," she said.

Another Start Fresh patient who wanted to remain anonymous was also addicted to alcohol. "On the weekends drinking with friends, and it became a daily routine," he said.

All that ended when he underwent the outpatient surgery. "The cravings have been zero," he said.

"Let's just say I dream of Jeanie, poof, like not gone that night, like that afternoon," said Ray.

Six months later and Ray hasn't looked back. "I had a motive, and I had all those grandkids, plus I wanted to see my son again," he said.

Now he's looking forward to his son's homecoming this September. "He's coming home, and god has told me that he is, I told him I'd get sober if he brought my kid home," said Ray.

Every Start Fresh patient is assigned a team of counselors to help them deal with what caused them to start drinking in the first place. Cost can vary depending on insurance coverage, to learn more visit: www.startfreshaddictionrecovery.com
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