A former West Jefferson family made national news in late December with their story of combating the trials of opioid addiction.
In November, Jordan Denes, 26, a graduate of West Jefferson High School and former football player, became the first Ohioan to receive a medicinal implant which helps to ward off the cravings associating with opioid dependency. The implant is one of a two-part treatment program from BioCorRx, a healthcare solutions company based in Anaheim, California.
After sustaining a spinal injury from working on his family’s farm, Denes was prescribed medication to manage the pain. The use of the medication led him down a difficult path to addiction which eventually brought him to a brush with the law. Denes was charged in March 2017 with counterfeiting money, a fifth-degree felony, which he said he did to support his drug habit.
“The addiction, it makes you into someone you’re not,” he said. “And you can’t get clean until you want it.” With the severity and repercussions of Jordan’s offense, the pressure to find a treatment program intensified.
That’s when his mother, Angie Denes, who works for Drug Testing Matters where she implements drug tests to high profile athletes, decided a drastic change needed to happen.
“I knew from what I was seeing at the hospitals, that the rehab centers, Suboxone clinics, jails and prisons were not making the impact they were designed for,” Angie Denes said. She ran across the little known treatment program created by BioCorRx but it posed a large problem.
“There wasn’t a doctor in Ohio who could do it,” Denes said. “So I took Jordan to Washington, D.C. where he had his first implant put in.”
The two-part program consists of the implant and behavioral therapy-based counseling. Patients undergo the implant procedure and then participate in the counseling which typically lasts for 90 days. In addition to the counseling, they stay in contact with a one on one peer-support person for a span of 12 months.
According to the company’s website, the implant includes a “non-addictive, implant formulated with the FDA-approved medication, naltrexone.” The medication then releases into the patient’s bloodstream slowly, allowing them to function without the effects of cravings.
“With the implant, the person can retrain their brain functions and eventually get back to normal,” said Denes. The procedure is minimally invasive and only takes 30 minutes to perform. “The issue with it is the cost and that most people don’t really know about it.”
Tom Welch, Vice President of Operations at BioCorRx, said the cost can vary.
“It’s something that is up to the physicians around the country,” Welch said. “We’ve see the cost for a full year’s treatment anywhere between $8,000 and $15,000.”
“The cost is high, but it’s something people have to weigh against other forms of treatment and rehab,” Denes added.
A new year, a new start
Jordan received his first implant last spring in D.C. at the start of his treatment and his second in November in Ohio. In the last five months he has gotten a new car, a new job, and engaged. He said the turnaround has helped to remind him of where he was and where he is.
“Back then, I didn’t really realize how good life could be,” Jordan said. “To overcome this, you have to be ready. No amount of medicine will work unless you want that change.”
Although the Denes family currently resides north of Columbus, they remain connected to Madison County, participating in West Jefferson’s annual Ox Roast.
“Addiction can happen to anyone,” Angie Denes said. “It affected my community and I have had to go back home and bury people I knew. I hope people know that there are options out there that can really help.”
Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619.