Grant gives drug court a new tool to fight opiate addiction

EUGENE, Ore. - For people with an opiate addiction, it can be a long road to recovery.

"It has the ability to break up families," said Sgt. Carrie Carver with the Lane County Sheriff's Office. "People sometimes turn to criminal behavior because of opiate addiction."

There's a drug that has been effective in relapse prevention called Vivitrol, a non-addictive treatment that comes in the form of a monthly injection.

At Serenity Lane treatment center, they have been using it for years.

"Once it's in, it's in," said Dr. Michael Schwartz at Serenity Lane. "You have a slow, steady release of the medication into your bloodstream."

According to Carver, Vivitrol has shown success at drug courts across the country.

Drug courts are alternative judicial processes that aim to help user-level drug offenders get back on track.

Thanks to a grant from the Oregon Community Foundation for about $38,000, Lane County will be the first Oregon country to offfer Vivitrol via drug court.

"The doses run between $800 and $1,000 per dose," Carver said. "We only have enough money within the grant to get people going for a few months."

But with 43 percent of drug court participants in lane county using opiates, Carver said it's worth a shot.

"I mean imagine if it's your brother, sister, mother, or your father - and, this is the one thing that helps them turn their life around," Carver said. "That's huge."