State prison advances use of Vivitrol to aid recovery for prisoners upon release

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A group drug recovery session at the men’s prison in Berlin, NH. Vice/YouTube

BERLIN, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Corrections is collaborating with Northern New Hampshire medical providers and organizations to better train them on the use of medication assisted treatment for individuals released from custody. Clinical, security, and case management staff at the Northern NH Correctional Facility in Berlin hosted training with the Coos Family Health Center medical providers and the Regional Director Kirt Hyles for Alkermes, the manufacturer of Vivitrol, a medication for the treatment of alcohol and opioid dependence.

Participants of the training were provided education and resources on the use of this medication to treat alcohol and opioid addiction. The Department uses this non-narcotic medication with a comprehensive management program that includes behavioral health support, medical monitoring and other life-skills interventions.

Since 2015, the Department has utilized medication-assisted treatment for those with addiction issues.  The focus has been two-fold, in our modified therapeutic community referred to as the Focus Unit to treat drug addiction and also for those upon re-entry in the community.  Individuals are screened by behavioral and medical staff for any contraindications per treatment guidelines, educated about medication as part of overall treatment, and engaged in regular individual and group therapies.  The Department continues to advance treatment practices within the correctional environment including the prisons as well as when a person is released on parole.

Commissioner Helen Hanks said, “This treatment reinforces using a multi-disciplinary approach to treating people, improves the outcomes for those with substance use disorders and focuses on recovery and being engaged in continuing their treatment upon re-entry into the community.”