New Vivitrol program to assist inmates in recovery treatment


HOOSICK, N.Y. — Rensselaer County jail inmates who are soon to be released now have the option of enrolling in an anti-dependency program.

Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino and Renssslear County Sheriff Pat Russo announced Tuesday a program that is being made possible through a collaboration between the Rensselaer County Sheriff's Office, Rensselaer County Mental Health, Hudson-Mohawk Recovery Center and Alkermes Inc.

As of Thursday, inmates are offered education on treatment paths, counseling and access to the non-addictive injectable medication Vivitrol (Naltrexone) which is a time released prescription taken once a month, the release stated.

"This program seeks to help break the cycle of addiction that is ruining the lives of so many in our communities," Jimino said in a release.

At time of discharge, the enrolled inmate will also receive a plan to support their continued recovery as well as counseling at the Hudson-Mohawk Recovery Center. Vivitrol will be donated by the manufacturer Alkermes Inc. for the first year and will be administered at the correctional facility, according to the release. The initial shot will be funded by the pharmaceutical company and the individual's health coverage would pick up the following treatments. Albany and Orange County Correctional Facilities already facilitate this program and have had success.

According to its website, Vivitrol also aids in halting alcohol dependency. The Naltrexone injection blocks the effects of opioid medication and can keep a user from feeling the need to use an opioid. The receiver must be free of any opioids before starting injections to avoid withdrawals.

Vermont launched a similar initiative this month offering Vivitrol to those being released from Marble Valley Correctional Facility in Rutland. A three year $3 million Medication Assisted Treatment and Recovery grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is funding Vermont's program and will assist 350 people.

"If we can help prevent our soon to be released inmates from relapsing into addiction we can hopefully prevent them from committing crimes to feed that addiction," said Russo in a release.

— Makayla-Courtney McGeeney can be reached at (802)-447-7567, ext. 118.


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