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Saturday 10 December 2022
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Onondaga County to Offer Vivitrol Shots for Addicted Inmates in Near Future

The Onondaga County Justice Center will soon be offering a drug treatment injection to inmates who suffer from addiction, joining approximately 100 other jails and prisons in the U.S. that already offer the program.

According to Syracuse.com, Sheriff Eugene Conway has announced that the jail will be providing Vivitrol injections for inmates addicted to heroin or prescription painkillers sometime in the near future.

Vivitrol, which was approved by the FDA in 2010, makes it impossible for addicts to get high on heroin or painkillers for about 30 days after receiving the shot. The Onondaga County Justice Center’s Vivitrol program will be voluntary for inmates.
Prescription Drugs

Sheriff Conway emphasized the importance of addiction treatment during his announcement, claiming that many addicted inmates start using drugs as soon as they’re released — and return to jail soon after.

“Enforcement alone is not winning the war against this drug epidemic,” he said.

As part of the program, the county will make arrangements for participating inmates to receive ongoing treatment after their release from jail. Dr. Indu Gupta, health commissioner of Onondaga County, noted that addicts who don’t seek treatment often fall into the same destructive habits after a few days of sobriety.

An estimated 48.5% of Americans have used at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days, and the abuse of narcotics such as Oxycontin has become rampant in recent years. Experts attribute the over-prescription of these addictive medications as one reason for the current uptick in heroin use and abuse. The issue is even more prevalent in jails and prisons in which inmates have no place to turn for detoxification and treatment.

This growing problem has prompted over 30 states to implement Vivitrol programs in their prisons, according to CBS News. Since being approved for opioid dependence treatment in 2010, Vivitrol sales have jumped from $18 million in 2009 to more than $106 million in 2015.

As for the Onondaga County Justice Center, Sheriff Conway said that his department will also be starting an “angel program.” Inmates who take advantage of the program can contact deputies who will refer them to addiction treatment specialists upon their release from jail.

Inmates who wish to receive Vivitrol injections must have not used heroin or painkillers for at least seven days. The manufacturer of Vivitrol will be providing the first injection for each Onondaga inmate free of charge.