Prosecutors say new approach to heroin problem is working

GREENFIELD, Ind.- Hancock County says a program to get inmates off heroin is making headway.

Late last year, they started offering inmates Vivitrol—a drug used to keep opioid addicts from craving the narcotic. Now county officials say the results are promising when it comes to keeping people off drugs and out of jail. Officials are quick to admit that this is not a fix-all, silver bullet, but so far the results are promising.

“It’s one thing maybe we can do in conjunction with treatment or probation because the goal here is to reduce recidivism,” said Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton.

Since the drug started being offered at the Hancock County Jail to inmates dealing with addiction, Eaton said they’re seeing fewer inmates return, along with fewer released inmates dying from overdoses.

“It’s one tool that we have in our toolbox to get effective resolution to cases and try to help stem the tide in our community,” said Eaton.

The drug has been on the market since 2003, but only in the past few years have cities and counties been offering it to addicted inmates.

“The fact that the state and counties are recognizing that there are pharmacological interventions that will assist people who are faced with these issues and disorders is phenomenal,” said Theresa Kennedy-Patton, who is the clinical director at Hickory House treatment center in Greenfield.

In order for Vivitrol to be prescribed to inmates, there are several parameters a person has to meet and each person is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.​