Louisiana DOC program treats opioid addiction with surgical implant

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BATON ROUGE, La. (Louisiana DPS&C, KALB) - The Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections began a pilot program on Wednesday aimed at reducing recidivism, by treating opioid addiction through a surgical implant.

Department doctors and medical staff surgically placed a time-release naltrexone implant into a soon to be releasing inmate at Louisiana State Penitentiary. It’s all part of a partnership between the DOC and BioCorRx, the distributor of the surgical implant. Naltrexone is a drug that reduces the urge for opioids and alcohol and has proven effective in the opioid crisis.

“The opioid crisis in America increases crime, has been fatal, and disrupts the lives of the prisoner, and his victims and his family,” said Jimmy LeBlanc, secretary, Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. “Our medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program has been amazing by keeping these former inmates off of opioids, and reducing recidivism.”

Since November 2017, the Department has treated 100 releasing inmates with naltrexone injections. Of those receiving the voluntary treatment, only four have reoffended. In addition to the injections, the Department provides educational programming and support to inmates receiving the treatment, and also connects with the inmates with treatment programs outside of prison, prior to their release. The injection lasts for a month, and it is recommended that the patient receive the injections for one year.

The implant is surgically placed into the abdomen and lasts approximately four months. It has proven safe and effective in patients in other parts of the country who have already received the implant.

The Department of Corrections screens its soon-to-be-released inmates to identify those who have a substance use disorder and might benefit from the program. Those prospective inmates are provided the opportunity to participate on a voluntary basis.