Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is bringing vivitrol to Arizona prisons as a way to try to reduce recidivism and save public money, reports the Arizona Republic. In his State of the State address, the Republican governor announced he had signed an executive order that allows certain prisoners to be treated with the blocker before they leave prison “to maximize their success of never, ever going back.” The medication blocks receptors in the brain and prevents the feeling of euphoria from opioids and alcohol. Said one former jail inmate: “I didn’t think it would work because nothing else had. But I have not had the desire to use drugs since I’ve been released. For me, being a chronic relapser, this was the only thing that works.”
Vivitrol is an injectable form of naltrexone, a drug that has been around for decades and comes in pill form to treat alcohol and opioid dependence. Vivitrol can last for 30 days and is emerging as a powerful tool for states, counties and cities to combat opioid dependency, health officials, addiction experts and state officials said. Recidivism has been an issue that the governor has been focused on. He also has said he wants to make sure that when prisoners are released that their second chance is a true second chance. Of the state’s 42,300 prisoners, an estimated 2,500 have reported using opioids. The system’s recidivism rate is about 40 percent.