Ohio County Jail Inmates Given Vivitrol Upon Release

inmates given vivitrol

It’s no secret that with drug abuse and drug addiction, crime rates soar in the areas most heavily affected. Addicts get very, very desperate, especially when the sickness starts to kick in. The shaking, twitching legs, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, insomnia, and intense cravings would drive most people into sheer and utter madness. But with addicts, it drives them to do whatever they have to do to get their next shot or line…anything to make the withdrawals go away; even if that means robbing a liquor store, snatching an old lady’s purse, or stealing their mom’s jewelry.

Due to these crimes, there has been a large increase in the number of addicts who are incarcerated for their transgressions. These are generally good people who were raised well, but inadvertently got addicted to drugs. And it’s the drugs, essentially, that made them commit their crimes in the first place. Had it not been for the firm grip drugs had on them, they may have never been arrested in the first place. The innumerable addicts being booked in one county jail in Ohio has lead local lawmakers and politicians to offer what they see as a solution, in their eyes.

Vivitrol is a time-release injection of Naloxone, which is an opiate blocker. When injected with Vivitrol, an addict can no longer feel the effects from taking opiates until the injection wears off, which generally takes a few months. Vivitrol has been hailed as a “silver bullet” or “miracle cure” for addicts who just can’t get and stay sober. By blocking their ability to get the euphoria they crave, the hope is that they won’t use opiates at all, therefore decreasing the amount of active opiate addicts in society while also reducing the occurrence of overdose. Vivitrol definitely reduces overdoses because it completely blocks the body’s ability to respond to opiates, but it doesn’t handle addiction.

Starting on October 1st of this year, jailed offenders in Ohio’s Franklin County Jail will be offered Vivitrol when they’re being released. The county is expecting around 520 inmates will take the Naloxone injection as a means of preventing relapse once their period of incarceration is over. Kathryn Carr Hurd of the Franklin County Opiate Task Force said, “They have to have a substance-use disorder and be willing to continue treatment upon release. They will receive the injection and be linked immediately to treatment.” The injections are expected to cost $769.23 per inmate and the money is mostly being provided by the federal government. Franklin County overdose deaths were up nearly 88% this year as opposed to last year and local officials are very optimistic about addressing the problem.

While I’m not a huge advocate of using Vivitrol as a means of getting and keeping someone sober, the part I’m in complete agreement is the fact that the jails are not only going to be administering Vivitrol to opiate addicts but they’re also going to help facilitate them going into a treatment center. I’m glad that they’re going to actually be offered treatment instead of just getting a shot, sending the offenders back into the community, and hoping for the best. Drug treatment is how you get someone sober, not just using another drug. Because the fact of the matter is that if you take away a person’s ability to get high on one drug, they’re more than likely just going to start using a different one because drugs solve a problem for a person, it’s not necessarily always about the specific drug…just as long as it “takes the edge off.” I just think it’s great that local communities are finally seeing drug addiction treatment as the way you get someone clean, not just throwing more drugs at them.

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Jason Good

Jason has been working in the field of addiction and recovery for over 10 years. Having been an addict himself, he brings real-world experience to the table when helping addicts and their families, while also offering a first-person perspective to the current drug crisis. Jason is passionate about educating the public about what’s currently going on in our society, and thankfully, offers practical solutions. Jason is also the co-host of The Addiction Podcast—Point of No Return. You can follow Jason on Google+, Twitter, or connect with him on LinkedIn.