'Lifesaver': Lapeer County Jail turns to Vivitrol to curb inmates' addictions

Published: Apr. 17, 2019 at 6:23 PM EDT
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(4/17/2019) - The Lapeer County Sheriff's Office is providing Vivitrol to inmates battling addiction in their jail.

"It blocks the receptors of where the opioids would work and blocks that pleasure effect that opioids would give to patients, similar with alcohol as well," explained Dr. Jasreet Mann with the Hamilton Community Health Network.

She and members of Community Mental Health and the Lapeer County Sheriff's Office worked for a year to get use of Vivitrol approved in the jail.

"I like to say it's kind of that key to the toolbox on the path to recovery," Deputy Joe Davis said.

It's a once a month injection that's paired with a comprehensive healthcare plan.

The manufacturer provided any shots given at the jail free of charge.

They start about a week out from the inmate's release date.

"We're basically holding their hand as they walk out the back door on their release and getting them over to CMH, getting them over to Hamilton Clinic, getting them signed up on Medicaid," Deputy Davis explained. "Things that they normally probably wouldn't do on their own."

And, that's the goal. They want to create the best bridge for the inmate back into society.

"Are we going to have 100% success rate? No but, that's okay," Sheriff Scott McKenna said. "We're trying to help them; and, it's better than what we've been doing for years."

Aaron Rubio is the Vice President of Families Against Narcotics in Genesee County. He said it's already working well for his community.

"Some will call it a crutch. I don't call it a crutch, I call it a lifesaver; because, it gives people an opportunity to find sobriety at the right ways and the right pace. It's very difficult to find sobriety and it's a good reinforcement, a great way to start with the jail program," he said.

So far, we're told 6 former inmates have started the treatment, several more have volunteered.