DAYTON, Ohio(WDTN)- For people leaving the Montgomery County Jail, it can be easy to fall back into opiod addiction. Many inmates undergo detox while in jail but when released were only sent home with information about staying clean.
“They were leaving the jail, going to the supplier and then starting right back injecting the same amount they were before they were incarcerated,” said Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck.
Sheriff Streck says many former inmates were dying after release as a result of overdoses. Under the voluntary Vivitrol Release Program, none of the 114 participants have been victim to opioid related deaths. One year after the programs started Sheriff Streck called it a success.
“You always hope the numbers will turn out that way but you don’t know. Unfortunately this addiction is so powerful, its really hard to make a guess to how an individual is going to do,” Streck said.
Vivitrol is an injection that blocks the effects of opioids helping to reduce cravings. Treatment starts in jail but continues after release.
“You leave with a discharge plan, where your appointment is for aftercare, how to get there. That aftercare provider will determine what (their) needs and come up with a treatment plan for them” said Teresa Russell, Jail Treatment Coordinator.
Getting the program running came with challenges. The biggest was its $1,400 price tag per injection.
“We had to eliminate barriers. We had to find ways to secure the medication because for our inmates, they don’t have access to insurance while they’re incarcerated,” Russell said.
Sheriff streck says partnerships with treatment center and with the Vivitrol manufacturer are a huge help.
“They stepped up and said we’ll worry about funding afterwards. Right now, all we’re worried about is saving people’s lives,” Streck said.
Russell said she hopes the program can have ripple effects.
“The hope is that ultimately it will help reduce recidivisim as well,” Russell said.
Sheriff Streck said Montgomery County will continue doing their program as long as there is a need for it. He said he hoped more county jails will adopt similar programs to help people through recovery.