How One Former Inmate and Drug Rehab Centers in Kentucky Use Medications to Fight Opioid Addiction

A reformed addict and former inmate in Covington has developed a substance abuse treatment program that involves the use of a drug that blocks the effects of opioids. The addiction program is currently being used to treat inmates at Kenton County jail, and is improving local public safety due to helping former inmates stay sober.

As the state’s opioid crisis continues to worsen, more drug rehab centers in Kentucky are turning to medication-assisted treatments to help opioid addicts successfully overcome addiction.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with opioid addiction, call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 502-466-3120 to discuss rehab options. Our treatment specialists will help you find local Kentucky rehab centers that can help you or your loved one achieve lifelong sobriety.

Treating Kenton County Inmates for Addiction

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Kenton County inmates have the opportunity to take Vivitrol after their release in order to prevent opioid relapse.

Jason Merrick, the reformed opioid addict who created the new local substance abuse treatment program, says 83% of inmates are incarcerated due to committing crimes associated with substance abuse. Merrick indicates that offering addiction treatment to these inmates improves public safety by helping addicts get clean and back on their feet following release from jail. Merrick says 70% of inmates released from Kenton County end up back in jail, but that substance abuse treatment reduces this number to 10%.

Merrick’s addiction program combines psychotherapy with 12-step support groups and a medication called Vivitrol. Vivitrol blocks the effects of opioids such as heroin and oxycodone for up to 30 days, and prevents addicts from experiencing pain relief and feelings of euphoria in the event they relapse and start using again.

Inmates who participate in Merrick’s treatment program receive one injection of Vivitrol just before their release, followed by monthly injections to support ongoing recovery and sobriety.

While serving 90 days in Kenton County jail on a possession charge, opioid addict Jordan West signed up for Merrick’s program and started using Vivitrol to block opioid cravings. West is now back in school, and says the effects of Vivitrol motivated him to help others struggling with opioid addiction. Since the program’s launch in February, all 22 inmates who completed the program have not re-offended.

Using Medications to Treat Opioid Addiction

Substance abuse treatments that combine medication with therapy and counseling are known as medication-assisted treatments, and are proven highly effective at helping addicts overcome addiction. The White House recently awarded millions to rehab centers across the nation to increase access to medication-assisted treatments in states with high opioid overdose rates. Individuals who struggle with opioid addiction can now receive medications that help them overcome dependence and avoid relapse.

Medications approved for use by the FDA to treat opioid addiction include buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. All three medications minimize opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms that can otherwise make overcoming addiction difficult to achieve. These medications also mimic the effects of opioids without offering pain relief or feelings of euphoria, which helps addicts overcome physical dependence.

If you are struggling with opioid addiction and want to overcome dependence using medication, call our confidential helpline at 502-466-3120. Our treatment specialists will help you find drug rehab centers in Kentucky that can help you achieve sobriety and become happier, healthier, and addiction-free.

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