Dr. O'Neil with successful implantees
The O'Neil Long Acting Naltrexone Implant
The O'Neil Long Acting Naltrexone Implant, or "OLANI", was developed in response to problems associated with patients failing to take oral naltrexone regularly. To date it has been used in over 12000 people including opiate, opioid, alcohol, methamphetamine and poly drug abusers. The implants are placed under the skin via a small cut below the belt line, done under local anaesthetic. As the implant breaks down naltrexone is released into the body for a period of up to 12 months. Research comparing overdose mortality rates in oral and OLANI implant patients has shown that Dr. O'Neil's implants are vastly superior, at 17,22 deaths per thousand patient years for those who take orally compared with 0.67 deaths per thousand patient years for those with his implants.
Dr. George O'Neil
Dr. O'Neil recognized some while ago that in Australia, like the United States, there are only two common treatments available for people wishing to be free of opiate addictions. One involves the use of methadone or buprenorphine, drugs which help people manage their addiction through a regular dose of a synthetic opioid. The other is to ask people to go 'cold turkey', to abstain. Like us he wasn't comfortable with either approach. And that's when he started his work with blockers, of which Naltrexone is one.
Naltrexone provides opiate relapse prevention by binding to the opiate receptors and blocking opiates such as heroin from having an effect. Cravings are greatly reduced and use becomes unfulfilling as its pleasurable aspects are blocked. By blocking opiate receptors, naltrexone also reduces dopamine 'spikes'. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is involved in reward. By reducing dopamine, the positive reward associated with using stimulants, like methamphetamine, or alcohol, is also reduced, and so it becomes a form of relapse prevention for them too.
When Dr. O'Neil began his search for alternatives the only form of naltrexone available was the daily dose. It worked well in blocking but was ineffective in preventing relapse because it was too easy to simply quit. Experimentation with implants had already begun in Russia, but the technology which they were using, and still are, only makes possible the manufacture of 60 day implants. The US uses the same technology with similar outcomes.
Working with the same polymers used to make biodegradable surgical screws Dr. O'Neil made an implant that offers a much steadier dose for 5 times as long. Since its introduction it has been constantly modified, and now the OLANI provides unquestionably the best implant available anywhere.