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Extended-release naltrexone lowers relapse rates in ex-offenders

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National Institute on Drug Abuse on 03/31/2016

Science Spotlight

little Hand in jail
New research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) revealed that the initial relapse rates among opioid-dependent adults in the criminal justice system was lower for participants receiving extended-release naltrexone than for those receiving treatment as usual (brief counseling and referrals for community treatment programs). Administered as a monthly injection, naltrexone is an FDA-approved sustained-release, opioid antagonist for the prevention of relapse to opioid dependence.

This study is the first large randomized trial of extended-release naltrexone versus usual care conditions among criminal justice involved adults. The findings showed that 24 weeks (six monthly injections) of extended-release naltrexone resulted in a significantly lower opioid relapse rate (43 percent vs. 64 percent) among the two groups. Additionally, while there were no overdoses observed in the extended-release naltrexone group, there were seven in the usual care group, with three resulting in fatalities.

For a copy of the abstract, “Extended-Release Naltrexone to Prevent Opioid Relapse in Ex-Offenders,” published in The New England Journal of Medicine, go to http://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa1505409

For more information about criminal justice and drug abuse, including Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations – A Research-Based Guide, go to: https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/criminal-justice-drug-abuse

For more information, contact the NIDA press office at media@nida.nih.gov or 301-443-6245.

Man Who Was Visiting Friend Not Subject To Illegal Search

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theindianalawyer.com on 4/27/2016 by Scott Roberts

A man who was visiting a friend when police found him in possession of a handgun was not a victim of an illegal search, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

Andrew Shotts stopped by his friend’s house as the home was being searched for heroin and evidence of drug trafficking. After a couple of requests, Shotts stopped walking, and the officer spun him around and handcuffed him. The officer asked Shotts what was in his pocket and he said his gun.

Shotts was charged with Class B felony unlawful possession of a firearm by a serious violent felon and Class B misdemeanor visiting a common nuisance. The misdemeanor charge was later dropped. Shotts filed a motion to suppress evidence found on his person because he claimed it was gained during an illegal search, but the trial court denied the motion and found him guilty of the felony charge. Shotts appealed.

Shotts argued under the United States Supreme Court decision Michigan v. Summers, 452 U.S. 692 (1981) that he was not an occupant of the house at the time and thus was not subject to search. The COA said determining whether or not Shotts was a resident would diminish the utility of the bright-line rule, which is meant to keep an officer from having to make an ad hoc decision. Requiring officers to determine whether Shotts was a resident would do that, so the COA determined occupant means anyone who is in the immediate vicinity of the premises may be detained to be searched at the time the search is executed.

Shotts also raised several issues with his sentence. First, Shotts was sentenced to 180 days for visiting a common nuisance even though that charge was dropped. The COA remanded that sentence to the trial court for dismissal.

He also claimed the trial court relied in improper factors in enhancing his sentence, including mentioning his Indiana Risk Assessment Score. However, the COA said there was no evidence that when the trial court said Shotts was high risk they were referring to his score at all. Also the court was justified in using this score to decide in what manner Shotts should serve his sentence. There was also no evidence the court used Shotts’ 2009 robbery conviction to enhance his sentence.

Finally, Shotts’ sentence of 18 years with 12 executed at the Department of Correction, two executed in community corrections and four suspended was not inappropriate. His long criminal history more than justified going above the minimum requirement, the judges held.

The case is Andrew Shotts v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1509-CR-1347.

MA launches new breathalyzer system with facial recognition

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Fox 6 on April 22, 2016 by Lindsay Iadeluca

10392253_GSPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) – New technology, featuring facial recognition for at home breathalyzer tests, is lending a helping hand to probation officers across Massachusetts.

The new mobile breathalyzers have replaced the older in-home systems and allow those on probation a bit more flexibility.

Friday, Western Mass News got an exclusive look at the new technology in action.

It’s a simple test for probation officers to check blood alcohol content.

Now, it has made a major upgrade – from the once voice recognition — to full facial recognition.

“Our employees look at pictures and of course, there’s an alert that says ‘Wait a minute.  This doesn’t look like the person that’s supposed to be taking the test’,” said Daniel Pires, probation manager for the MA Department of Probation.