The announcement was made at a conference on Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) at the DOC’s Training Academy, which drew 155 county officials representing 37 counties and was the first of its kind in the state.
“The number of individuals entering state prisons with substance use disorder has doubled in the last decade from 6 to 12 percent,” said Corrections Secretary John Wetzel. “If we can address the issue while someone is in county jail, we can better ensure they successfully reenter the community and do not end up in the state prison system.”
Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine, the keynote speaker at the event, emphasized the need for a multi-pronged approach to curb the opioid epidemic and save lives.
“The opioid and heroin crisis is one of the biggest public health crises that we have seen, and the response to it requires a multi-disciplinary, collaborative approach,” Levine said. “We must continue to remember that addiction is a disease, and is not a moral failing. Through Governor Tom Wolf’s disaster declaration, we are working to provide resources, such as vivitrol, to help Pennsylvanians suffering with this disease.”
As part of its ongoing mission to better equip reentrants as they return to their communities, the Department of Corrections began providing Vivitrol for female inmates at SCI Muncy in 2014. Vivitrol is now available in at all state correctional institutions.
Vivitrol is a non-narcotic medication indicated for the treatment of alcohol use disorder as well as opioid use disorder.
The grant funding announcement represents the second round of state funding for Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) for county jails. In 2017, 11 counties received $1.5 million in grants for Vivitrol treatment.
The Non-Narcotic Medication - Assisted Treatment (MAT) solicitation was established by the DOC to increase opportunities for counties to provide long acting non-narcotic, non-addictive medication (Vivitrol), combined with comprehensive substance abuse treatment, to eligible offenders upon release from county correctional institutions.
Administration of this drug prior to institutional release will allow newly released participants to focus on immediate reentry needs without also having to struggle with drug craving as Vivitrol is designed to reduce cravings for alcohol and/or opiates, while also blocking the ability to get high or feel euphoria.
MEDIA CONTACT: Amy Worden (DOC), 717-728-4026
# # #