In a first for local courts, Warren County, Ohio, Judge Robert Peeler last month ordered a teenage defendant to undergo a series of injections of Vivitrol, the non-narcotic drug naltrexone that blocks the brain's ability to get high on opiates, including heroin, or drunk on alcohol. He ordered the teen to receive the first shot while in jail, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The drug, which the Federal Drug Administration approved in injectable form in 2010, helps addicts to keep from relapsing. The risk of relapse among individuals with opioid addiction is extremely high without medication-assisted therapy. Peeler's order raised eyebrows at the Warren County Jail. No other local counties do this, and one other Greater Cincinnati sheriff called it “a waste of money.” But others say his move will be watched closely by prisons and jails elsewhere, though there is a question of who would pay for the injections since Vivitrol retails for about $1,000 a shot.