Getting out of prison is both a relief and a challenge for most people. The adjustment isn’t always easy, especially for people who are addicted.
It’s a high-risk time for relapse and fatal drug overdose. And a high-risk time for relapse to criminal behavior and re-incarceration.
Researchers are injecting inmates who were addicted to heroin or prescription pain killers before incarceration with the medication Vivitrol one week prior to release, and again monthly for six months.
The goal is to prevent relapse, overdose, crime and re-incarceration.
Vivitrol is an extended-release form of naltrexone, a medication used to treat addiction.
Naltrexone is not an opiate, but it has the ability to occupy opiate receptor sites in the brain. This blocks the effects of heroin and other opiates.
Naltrexone is non-narcotic and does not result in physical dependence.
Vivitrol treatment can’t begin until patients have stopped using opiates for 7-10 days. Detox is a painful process, and the need to detox before starting treatment with Vivitrol can be a barrier to treatment. Treating people who are incarcerated before they are released helps overcome this barrier.
Even though most inmates have drug problems, most don’t get treatment in jail. It makes sense to begin treatment in jail and continue the treatment after release.
Maybe we are finally getting smarter in our approach to drugs and crime.
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Vivitrol was approved by the FDA for the treatment of opiate dependence in 2010 and alcohol dependence in 2006. This means the U.S. government has already determined this treatment to be safe and effective. And it means that your doctor can already prescribe Vivitrol to you or your loved one.
You don’t have to wait for this research to be completed to take advantage of this treatment!
Consider scheduling a doctor’s appointment to begin treatment immediately upon release. Your doctor will help you determine if this treatment is right for you.
Treatment with Vivitrol may help reduce the risk of:
- fatal drug overdose
- resumption of criminal activity
Wishing you a safe recovery!