Warren Co. using medicated treatment program for addicted inmates

WARREN COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - A new medicated treatment program for addicted inmates in Warren County is showing great promise, according to Warren County Common Pleas Judge Robert Peeler.

A medication called Vivitrol and is given to inmates in the program once a month. It's a non-narcotic shot that blocks receptors in the brain and prevents the person from getting high while reducing cravings. Peeler says that is one of the reasons the four-month program is effective.

"It's going great. We've had 17 people enter the program. One individual withdrew because of pregnancy," Peeler told FOX19's Gordon Graham.

Not every inmate suffering from addiction can enter the program, according to Court Administrator Jennifer Burnside. She says administrators want to make sure that they have the right inmates with the right motivation.

Inmates in the program are closely observed even after they are released.

"We do not just release people from jail and send them on their way after they've received their shot. They're on an electronic monitor for 90 days to six months. We know where they are every minute of the day," Peeler told FOX19.

At several hundred dollars a shot, FOX19 asked Peeler if Vivitrol is worth the cost.

"We're saving the taxpayer a lot of money here and that needs to be recognized because people are coming out of the jail, going on to the employment rolls and living their lives, supporting their families. It costs a lot more to keep an individual in jail".

Peeler says holding addicts responsible long term is crucial because he says it takes about two years for a drug addicted person to become secure with their recovery.

The Medication Assisted Treatment program is funded by a grant from the Ohio Department of Corrections.

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