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News Release
Andrew Suchocki, M.D.,MPH, Medical Director at Clackamas County Health Centers
Andrew Suchocki, M.D.,MPH, Medical Director at Clackamas County Health Centers
Community Corrections incorporates new medication into its substance-abuse treatment -- with positive results; B-roll video available (Photo) - 04/12/18

Vivitrol, administered monthly, blocks opioid receptors in the brain, stopping cravings and interrupting the addiction cycle

B-ROLL VIDEO SOUND-BITES: Sheriff Roberts, Capt. Morrison, Dr. Suchocki (.m4v format)

The heroin epidemic has proven a difficult challenge -- state and local health departments report that medical emergencies and fatalities from opioid addiction are a daily occurrence.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently released a study with alarming new statistics about the opioid epidemic that claims the lives of 115 Americans each day.

Now Clackamas County is trying out a new medical tool -- Vivitrol -- to help curb drug cravings and keep those in recovery on track.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Community Corrections division is partnering with Clackamas County Public Health for a new pilot program -- one that integrates medication-assisted treatment into the county's Corrections Substance Abuse Program (CSAP).

The Corrections Substance Abuse Program has offered state-of-the-art drug treatment for many years. But CSAP administrators note that the opioid epidemic offers unique challenges to its recovering clients.

"We noticed that clients were taking much longer to recover than in the past, and they were relapsing more frequently," said Capt. Jenna Morrison, Community Corrections Director.

Research shows that medication-assisted treatment may offer addicts the best chance at recovery. And so Clackamas County Public Health partnered for a pilot project with Alkermes, the maker of Vivitrol, a medication that blocks opioid receptors in the brain, stopping cravings and interrupting the addiction cycle.

CSAP clients who are a part of the pilot project get an injection of Vivitrol once a month.

"When clients talk to us about the benefits of Vivitrol, they talk about how they have their lives back," said Andrew Suchocki, M.D.,MPH, Medical Director at Clackamas County Health Centers. "The cravings are gone and they feel like a regular person."

Brandin, a 24-year-old CSAP client, said Vivitrol has helped him tremendously. After injecting heroin for six years -- and battling an addiction so severe that he nearly died twice of overdoses -- he said he no longer has urges to use.

"The cravings just aren't there," said Riehle. "I feel like a normal person again, like I did before I started using."

Capt. Morrison said Vivitrol is not a substitute for traditional drug treatment. All clients enrolled in the pilot project that are receiving Vivitrol are also a part of CSAP, where they receive inpatient treatment for their drug addiction. "It's important to have the treatment component, because without it you are potentially setting people up for some serious failures," she said.

"Our goal is to impact the link between drug abuse and crime," said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts. "By addressing drug addiction during incarceration, we release clean and sober individuals into the community. Our numbers demonstrate that most who graduate from our treatment program don't re-offend. Substance abuse treatment works -- it's changing lives and making our community safer."

B-ROLL VIDEO AVAILABLE: B-roll video with soundbites from Sheriff Roberts, Capt. Morrison and Dr. Suchocki can be downloaded here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xlg4inxxzf0r45o/vivitrolsoundbites.m4v?dl=0

MEDIA INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY: To set up media interviews about the Vivitrol trial, contact Community Relations Specialist Kim Lippert at 503-785-5016 or t@clackamas.us">klippert@clackamas.us

Read the CDC Study, Overdose Deaths Involving Opioids, Cocaine, and Psychostimulants -- United States, 2015–2016, here: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/mm6712a1.htm?s_cid=mm6712a1_w

Watch a Sheriff's Office video about CSAP here: https://youtu.be/hE3xMbm-zG4

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