Dauphin County Prison to offer Vivitrol shot to help people get clean
Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | 02.06.17
(Harrisburg) -- Dauphin County is experimenting with a new program in an effort to get people off opioids like heroin and keep them out of jail.
It will offer a monthly shot to at least 50 people.
It's called Vivitrol, and it blocks receptors so someone can't get a high feeling from opioids or alcohol.
The shot costs about $1,000 a month, and Dauphin County will use a state grant to pay the cost.
People accepted into the program will get Vivitrol once a month for as long as a year, along with monitoring, therapy and other services.
Photo by Ben Allen/WITF
28-year-old Maria Gorgo, who has been clean for a year after starting a program that includes Vivitrol, a shot that costs as much as $1,000 a dose, but also blocks receptors so someone cannot get a high feeling from opioids or alcohol.
28-year-old Maria Gorgo of Harrisburg has been clean for a year, since she started getting Vivitrol.
She says it gave her her life back.
"Vivitrol gave me the time that I needed for my brain to come back to the person that I was before. That's all you could possibly ask for," she says.
"But it also took all the stress off my family because they weren't worried about me anymore. They weren't worried because it wasn't an option. That was probably the worst weight on my shoulders. Being afraid what they would think."
Gorgo who has been clean for a year and still gets monthly Vivitrol shots, cheers Dauphin County's move. She says Medicaid pays for her treatment.
Dauphin is following York County - which has been giving Vivitrol to inmates who are transitioning out of the system. About 6,000 people come through Dauphin County's prison every year, according to Warden Dominick DeRose.
Alkermes, which makes Vivitrol, says it will provide the first injection free for each inmate.
DeRose says he's hopeful the pilot program will help reduce the cycling that he sees, where inmates are discharged, only to return within a year.
Cumberland and Perry counties are expected to add it as an option soon, as well.