York prison offers opiate blocker to some inmates

YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – There’s a drug that prevents addicts from getting high, and the York County Prison is offering it to some inmates struggling with addiction.

The drug, called Vivatrol, is an injection that’s taken monthly.

“It’s an extended form of Naltrexone and it works by binding with the receptors in the brain,” said Adam Kiracofe, president of Safe Haven Treatment Services.

Vivatrol blocks that “high” feeling drug users get from opiates and alcohol.

“It’s really just a component in that full continuum of care, just as detox is the first step to remove those withdrawal symptoms. It’s important to look at what is going to assist that person in maintaining long-term recovery,” said Audrey Gladfelter, administrator of the York/Adams Drug & Alcohol Commission.

Kiracofe said he’s seen success, especially with their chronic relapse patients. Many clients have been using it more than a year.

“It gives them the ability to move forward and focus on their recovery without the cravings and without the thoughts of use,” Kiracofe said.

But some have argued it’s using one drug to fight another.

“Each person is going to have an individualized pathway to recovery, and I think it’s important when you look at that you support that journey in whatever’s going to work for that individual,” Gladfelter said.

They say Vivitrol alone is not the answer.

“Vivitrol again is just a tool. It’s done in conjunction with therapy, a 12-step fellowship, other means of recovery that’s going to guarantee that individual a healthy foundation for long-term recovery,” Kiracofe said.

Vivitrol is covered under most insurance plans but without it, it can cost up to $1,200.

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