Another chance: Inmate drug program shows promise in the fight against opioid addiction in Indiana

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WRTV 6 on April 4, 2017 by Mike Pelton, Katie Cox

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. — It’s no secret that opioid addiction is on the rise in Indiana, and Hancock County is joining the battle against the drug by offering inmates a new form of treatment that’s seen success in other parts of the state.

Inmates in Hancock County who are on work-release or the probation department’s “heroin-protocol” are eligible for the program, which gives them a monthly shot of Vivitrol and enrollment in a treatment program.

Vivitrol blocks the brain’s opioid receptors, preventing the user from getting high or overdosing on any opioid drug.

The state’s “Recovery Works” program will be helping to fund the treatments for inmates who qualify, allowing them to receive at least two injections at no cost. The program may also help them cover the cost of treatment for as long as they stay on track.

Hancock County Court Treatment Specialist Amy Ikerd calls the treatment a “safety net,” but not a cure. She said those that take Vivitrol will still have to work towards kicking their addiction through treatment, counseling and support meetings.

“The reason why treatment is so important is that we’re still dealing with addiction and addiction is a disease,” said Ikerd. “There is no cure this is just a fantastic tool.”