Vivitrol may be used to treat addicts in the legal system, says one Ottawa County judge. Judge Bruce Winters believes that treating drug offenders is a step in the right direction, and could be a powerful force in combatting addiction. Winters is poised to meet with law enforcement representatives as well as social service agencies to brainstorm how best to implement a Vivitrol program.
Winters has also seen countless offenders appear before him in court while under the influence of drugs. In fact, a majority of defendants have at least one type of illegal substance in their system at their arraignment.
Ottawa is not the first county to suggest a Vivitrol treatment program. Hocking County treats offenders who are addicted to heroin and painkillers with Vivitrol in lieu of jail time.
What is Vivitrol?
Vivitrol® (naltrexone) can be used to treat both alcohol and opioid dependence. It is a monthly injection of medication that blocks brain receptors so that a person cannot feel the effects of opiates. Vivitrol should not be used independently to treat addiction, but should be coupled with drug counseling and potentially other health treatments.
Mental health, recovery, and law enforcement agencies are continuing to test Vivitrol's effectiveness as well as its potential side effects to uncover whether the risks outweigh the benefits.
Heroin is a growing problem that has no socio-economic borders, leaving officials searching for anything that might help combat it. According to the Ohio Department of Health, 680 people were killed in the state due to heroin overdoses in 2012, that's 254 more deaths than in the year prior.