Innovative Treatment of Jail Inmates on Heroin

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In a first-of-its kind program in Minnesota, heroin-addicted Anoka County jail inmates will be offered a prescription drug that lessens their cravings in hopes of focusing on their recovery once they’re released.

The program allows inmates to voluntarily take an injection of the drug Vivitrol, which is given every 30 days at no cost as long as they remain in jail. Before an inmate’s release, the county arranges a treatment plan to deal with mental and substance issues with a network of social workers and clinics.

Until the program was developed, the jail had few options available to ease withdrawal symptoms. That usually led to a quick return to heroin use, crime and landing back in jail, said County Sheriff James Stuart.