- Associated Press - Monday, October 24, 2016

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - Allen County officials have proposed a new approach to help drug-addicted inmates detox.

For years, those with opioid addictions have been arrested, put through a painful detox in the Allen County Jail and have been released on probation, only to wind up back in jail, The Journal Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/2dDgZCU ).

Some health professionals, probate officers, criminal judges and law enforcement officials said the plan, called Medication-Assisted Treatment or MAT, would save taxpayer money, help those with addictions get back on their feet and reduce the likelihood of inmates ending up back in jail after release.

Inmates would be assessed and potentially receive the drug Vivitrol before leaving jail. The drug, usually given monthly, reduces the craving for drugs. MAT usually begins 10 to 14 days from the first day of detox, though proponents of the plan would like to see MAT begin in the jail.

The treatment would be paired with services that would help offenders find housing, health insurance, food and counseling.

In Allen County, drug overdoses increased 93 percent from 2008 to 2015, county health commissioner Dr. Deborah McMahan said.

MAT has gone into effect in other Indiana counties, including Madison County, according to Allen Superior Court Judge Wendy Davis.

Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger said of the 28 inmates who were offered Vivitrol in the summer when the program began, only five have slipped. If someone violates their probation and tests positive for drugs in Madison County, the offender will return to jail for nearly 10 more days of detox.

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Information from: The Journal Gazette, http://www.journalgazette.net

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