This month, NH Department of Corrections has started a new program available to certain inmates who demonstrate a willingness to defeat their drug addictions. The program is designed to reduce re-offenses and drug overdoses after release. Following in the footsteps of a program launched in Massachusetts in 2014, New Hampshire DOC will start administering Vivitrol, a monthly injection that blocks receptors in the brain which prevent drug abusers from getting a high. Eligible outgoing inmates who have already detoxed and are committed to recovery are identified within the facility, then screened for mental and physical health, educated about the drug, and given oral Vivitrol to test for allergic reactions. Vivitrol has also been shown to reduce cravings, and in some cases, even alleviate depression; it is now used in over 100 programs across 30 states. Provided there are no problems along the way, inmates are given an injection between two and seven days before their release, and sent into the community with a comprehensive recovery plan using local rehabilitation centers.
In December 2015, findings have shown that the Barnstable County Correctional Facility in Bourne, Massachusetts had treated more departing inmates with the Vivitrol program than any other prison in the world, and that it had dramatically reduced recidivism. Of the 178 inmates given a Vivitrol injection upon departing the jail since April 2012, when the program began, 82 percent have not been reincarcerated. And 40 to 45 percent of those who took part in the program have remained sober.
Posted by: Angela Whiting, North Hampton, NH.