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Jail offering shot to help inmates hooked on heroin

Inmates at the Monroe County Jail will now be offered an anti-opiate drug (WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. - Many inmates end up in the Monroe County Jail in Brighton because of petit crimes related to their heroin addiction.

Some are hooked on heroin. They can get help detoxing while in jail and are given medicine to ease the cravings and withdrawal symptoms, as well as drug counseling.

But the bigger challenge comes when they are released. Some relapse within 24 to 48 hours - and for many, that high can be fatal because their tolerance is down after being clean for months.

That's where a drug called Vivitrol comes into play. The Monroe County Jail is offering it to inmates days before their release, to help keep them clean once they are released.

The drug blocks the effects of opiates on the brain. So even if they use heroin, they can't get high.

Unlike Narcan, which also reverses the effects of an overdose, Vivitrol is long lasting.

It works for up to 30 days.

Craig Johnson works with inmates who have drug and alcohol problems. He said the use of Vivitrol can help ease them back into the real world and keep them from relapsing.

The first inmate in the Monroe County Jail was given a shot of the drug Tuesday. He will be released Friday and taken directly to drug treatment.

Johnson said the hope is this drug will keep them clean, keep them out of jail and save their life.

It will be offered to male and female inmates in the Monroe County Jail.

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