Pueblo County jail first to offer Vivitrol program for soon-to-be-released inmates

Pueblo Justice Plaza
Photo courtesy Pueblo Police Department

PUEBLO, Colo. — The Pueblo County Detention Center is the first jail in Colorado to offer a substance abuse prevention program to assist individuals as they get ready to re-enter the community following their release from jail.

“We have a great need for this type of program in our community and in our facility as many people are here because of alcohol or drug addiction,” said Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor. “We are proud to be the first county jail in the state of Colorado to connect incarcerated individuals with a substance abuse prevention program that they will be able to continue with after they are released from jail. Our hope is that by helping them address their addiction, it will prevent them from re-offending and returning to jail.”

In conjunction with Gateway to Success, a behavioral health outpatient treatment facility in Pueblo, the Sheriff’s Office has added the new Vivitrol program to the list of Jail Based Behavioral Services designed to help decrease recidivism.

Officials say since January 1 this year, inmates with an opiate addiction are able to enroll in a medicated-assisted treatment program. When they are released from jail, they are able to receive Vivitrol to aid in their continued sobriety.

Vivitrol is a prescription drug that blocks cravings for alcohol and opiates.

The Sheriff’s Office has been authorized 50 doses of Vivitrol to be administered to clients at no cost.

The program is offered on a pilot basis and is voluntary for all participants. To be eligible for the program, participants must be incarcerated for at least 6 weeks.

At this time there are two people enrolled in the program, with another 6 enrollments pending the clients’ release from jail, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Officials say participants in the treatment program receive intensive therapy while incarcerated and on the day of their release from jail, they are connected with the outpatient facility to receive an initial injection of Vivitrol.

The Sheriff’s Office says the goal is for the individuals to maintain contact with counselors and continue the therapy needed to stay sober.

Galen Beaver, re-entry coordinator for Pueblo County, said the adding this substance abuse prevention program to what is already offered at the Detention Center will bring valuable, needed resources to assist them upon their release from jail.

“We do well with them while they are in jail but when they are released, a lot of them revert to doing what they were doing before and then they re-offend and end up back in jail,” Beaver said. “We are hoping that by establishing those contacts before they are released there will be less of a delay and fewer barriers for people to access the needed treatment. We’re looking forward to evaluating the progress of this program.”


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