In August, an 18 year old stood in a court room in Warren County after being accused of stealing $169 from people at the Kings Island water park. Since he had a long history of other petty crimes that he had been responsible for at a younger age, this particular action was his first felony. He was facing up to three years in prison and was a heroin addict. He had already been in jail for around 10 weeks previously. The teen addressed the judge and told him that he wanted to end his drug addiction and that he would be willing to go to an inpatient treatment.
However, the judge had a different idea. He had already seen three defendants die due to heroin overdoses in the past after he had agreed to release them from jail early. He didn’t want that to happen to this teenage boy. As a result, he made a decision that is being considered to be a first in terms of the local criminal justice systems in the area. It’s also an action that is being closely studied at a few other prisons and jails throughout the country. The judge ordered for the teen to receive a series of nine to 12 Vivitrol injections. Vivitrol is a non-narcotic drug that is known to block the brain’s ability to get high from the use of opiates such as heroin. It can also prevent people from being able to get drunk on alcohol. The teen was ordered to receive the first injection while he was in jail.
The drug was approved by the FDA in injectable form during 2010. It helps addicts to avoid having a relapse. It has been said that the risk of relapse among people who have an addiction to opioids is very high, with statistics of up to 90 percent over the course of a year without what would be considered to be medication assisted therapy. The judge’s order caused a few people to question his actions at the Warren County Jail. This is because none of the other counties in the area take these kinds of measures and the sheriff had even labeled the treatment to be a ‘waste of money’. Distributing medication for addiction is not a common action that is found in jails based on information from the Federal National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Experts have said that it’s better to give the first injection while the individual is in jail. That would provide the inmate with a month to get their Medicaid benefits to pay for the upcoming shots and then to set up a drug counseling program outside of the jail. Receiving the injections with some form of counseling is considered to make the treatment more successful. Medicaid also won’t pay for the first shot because then the inmates lose their benefits while they are in jail. The county is responsible for the cost of inmates health care while they are in jail.