Opiate Dependency Treatment Set To Begin inside Jail

NEWS RELEASE #: 16-158

Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight announced today that the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office in partnership with Drug Court of Florida's 12th Judicial Circuit, Armor Correctional Health Services, and Centerstone, will be launching an opiate addiction treatment program that will start in the Sarasota County Jail.

Through assistance and funding provided by the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association, inmates of the Sarasota County Jail who suffer from opiate addiction will receive treatment in the form of a monthly injectable dose of VIVITROL, a prescription medicine used to treat opioid dependence, coupled with extensive drug therapy. Candidates will be identified through Drug Court and are required to be opiate-free for at least seven days prior to receiving the first dose. Inside the jail, staff from Centerstone and Armor Correctional Health Care will coordinate the initial medication and facilitate drug therapy. Upon release, patients are directed to continue outpatient care through Centerstone while under the supervision of Drug Court.

A benefit of VIVITROL is its non-addictive properties which alleviate the potential for it to be used as a replacement drug or to hold any street value in comparison to other treatment drugs. The active ingredient in the medication works as a blocker attaching itself to opioid receptors in the brain and blocking the pleasurable feeling that accompanies ingestion of the highly-addictive drug.

"This is just another step we're taking locally to combat the national issue of opiate addiction," said Sheriff Knight. "We are not so naive as to believe that arresting people will solve this problem. Instead, through our philosophy of rightful policing, we've equipped our deputies with naloxone and now we're offering drug therapy in our jail. The sheriff's office is a full-service agency which means not only working to eliminate the influx of heroin into our community, but also providing services and resources to the people who need it most."

"We are privileged to support the sheriff's office in addressing the challenge of opiate and drug addiction sweeping the nation. As health care professionals we are committed to meeting our patients' needs at the Sarasota County Jail. This program is one of a number of ways in which we work with SCSO and community partners to continue caring for patients who return to the community with medical and behavioral health needs," said Bruce Teal, CEO of Armor Correctional Health Services, Inc.

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office is the fourth known law enforcement agency in the state of Florida to introduce VIVITROL into its correctional facility.