04/22/2019- There could be a new tool to aid those in the criminal justice system grappling with alcohol addiction. Nick Murtha with Alkermes biopharmaceutical company spoke to the Marinette County Criminal Justice Coordination Committee last week about the benefits of incorporating the drug Vivitrol into court-appointed alcohol treatment programs. Vivitrol is a monthly injection that blocks receptors in the brain’s limbic region and prevents the release of dopamine that gives people the feel-good buzz they’re looking for when they drink.
Murtha says Vivitrol isn’t a cure-all for alcoholism, but, when paired with other treatment options like counseling, it’s been clinically shown to reduce heavy drinking in alcohol-dependent adults by 25%.
More than 20% of the inmates currently being housed at the Marinette County Jail are there on some type of pre- or post-sentence OWI-related charge and Jail Administrator Bob Majewski says incorporating Vivitrol into their treatment plan could help reduce recidivism and lower the jail population. The County already uses Vivitrol in some cases for the treatment of opioid addiction. The Committee plans to further explore its use for combating alcoholism at future meetings.