Could a drug prevent crime?
Alkermes Pharmaceuticals is conducting a pilot study of the drug Vivitrol – used to treat drug addiction - in prisoners jailed for substance abuse to see if it can help keep convicts on a crime-free path after they leave jail.
If successful, Alkermes officials said it might be used in treatment of prisoners while they are still incarcerated and continue after their release.
“[Drug] dependence is a challenging disease that is closely linked to criminal behavior,” said Dr. Frank Vocci, of Friends Research Institute in an Alkermes press release announcing the study. “We are interested in evaluating the impact on recidivism with the use of once-monthly, non-narcotic Vivitrol among these high-risk individuals.”
This study will try to determine if the drug can reduce the cases of re-arrest among 30 adult criminal offenders with a prior history of drug abuse who are seeking treatment, the company said.
Vivitrol is an injectable form of naltrexone that lasts a month. It blocks the activation of pleasure centers in the brain that allow opiates like heroin and oxycodone to produce a “high” in users.