“An NYU Langone Medical Center study testing the use of a controversial heroin addiction treatment to prevent relapses in Rikers Island inmates has prompted concern from some advocates and analysts who worry that use of the drug could in some cases have fatal consequences.
The study examined the effectiveness of Vivitrol, or naltrexone—a drug already approved for use in the general population—in treating inmates who were about to be released. It involved 34 inmates, half of whom were given a combination of Vivitrol and counseling. The other half was given no treatment. After eight weeks, 88 percent of the inmates who received no treatment relapsed, compared to 38 percent of those given Vivitrol and counseling.
The concerns about the study stem from the idea that Vivitrol increases the potential for overdose because, unlike methadone or buprenorphine, it makes it impossible for a user to feel the effects of heroin, drastically lowering their tolerance. As a result, if addicts do relapse, they are more likely to take a dose of heroin their system cannot handle.”
Source: CapitalNewYork.com – April 21, 2015