- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 2, 2015

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - The state of Maryland is awarding $500,000 to eight counties to inject pre-release jail inmates with a drug that blocks the euphoric effects of heroin.

The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention said Tuesday the program aims to keep addicted, non-violent offenders from re-using after their release.

The drug is naltrexone, brand name Vivitrol. The non-narcotic, non-addictive compound is injected once a month. Proponents consider it an improvement over methadone and suboxone, which require daily doses.

It’s expensive, though, at about $1,000 a shot.

Manufacturer Alkermes (AL’-ker-mees) Inc. will donate the initial doses, to be given in jail. Subsequent injections will be given by local health departments.

The counties are Anne Arundel, Carroll, Calvert, Cecil, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery and Washington.

Baltimore city will get its own Vivitrol program.

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