LEBANON, Ohio (AP) — Criminal justice officials across the country are trying to combat the surging number of overdose deaths by fighting heroin needles with treatment needles.
Judge Robert Peeler in southwest Ohio's Warren County began researching injections with the drug Vivitrol (VIHV'-ih-trohl) for heroin users after at least three people who had been in his courtroom died of overdoses. Vivitrol shots block opiate effects for a month, giving newly released defendants time to begin post-release counseling without giving into old urges.
Vivitrol was federally approved less than four years ago and has caught the attention of judges and corrections officials in at least 21 states.
Some skeptics say it has not proved effective enough to warrant the time and expense.
Peeler and others cite the costs of heroin-related crime, repeat offenders and deaths.