Judge Uses Drug to Aid Addicts' Recovery

Aug 22, 2014

Legislative interim judiciary committee co-chairs John Tilley and Whitney Westerfield heard a case for opiate addition treatment yesterday.
Credit http://kentuckyforjohntilley.com/media/

In an effort to help drug addicts kick their habit, an Ohio municipal judge is offering medicated assisted treatment in his drug court.

Judge Fred Moses presented his case Thursday before a panel of Kentucky lawmakers.


In southeast Ohio, Judge Fred Moses overseas one of the few Vivitrol  drug courts in the country.  Vivitrol is an opioid receptor antagonist. Injected monthly, it blocks brain receptors from feeling opiate effects. If recovering addicts attempt to get high while on Vivitrol, they can not.


Moses has been using this approach over the past two years for heroin and other opioid users. 


"I don't think it's the answer for everything, but what it does, it's a tool to keep people from getting high and craving their drugs and then you put them in the treatment they need," Moses said. "You know mental health, addiction treatment, physical care, whatever they need. You get them the help they need and give them the tools to deal with their physical addiction the rest of their life." 


Of five people participating in his Vivitrol court, Moses says, four have graduated and three of the four have jobs.  Among the group, he says there have been no drug or legal issues. 


Moses presented to the legislative interim judiciary committee meeting in Lexington.  Hopkinsville Representative John Tilley co-chairs the committee. 


"It was encouraging.  It is expensive," Tilley said. "Certainly you have to seek grant money, but there is money to be saved by breaking the cycle of addiction." 


Committee co-chair Whitney Westerfield would like to learn more about the Vivitrol program.  Westerfield says he wonders about paying for such an effort long term.