At 23, Hopkins County inmate Levi Alfred tells 14 News he has spent time in and out of jail, and so have many people he knows.
“I’ve had family members in and out of prison my whole life. I’ve been coming in jail doing a little time basically since I was 18,” Alfred recalls.
He’s been in the Hopkins County Jail for the last year and a half, but has decided to finally commit to being clean. And he’s getting that chance with a qualification from the state.
Alfred will graduate from the substance abuse program in the next few weeks and chose to continue with this new program, the vivitrol protocol, which is helping curb the opioid epidemic.
“I’m young and still have a whole life ahead of me. I don’t want to spend it on drugs and in and out of these places,” Alfred added.
Research shows those first six months upon release can be very stressful for inmates as they get back out into the community. They may be trying to find work, reconnect with family members, and also trying find a place to live.
Selected inmates by the DOC who volunteer to participate in the program will be given a pill form of medication for three days to make sure there’s no reaction.
Then the first shot, which is paid for by the DOC, is given ahead of their release. A series of five more shots will follow once a month, which could be covered by Medicaid.
“It’s a blocker, so what it does, even if they get out and drink alcohol or use opioids, they won’t get the effects because of the blocker,” jailer Mike Lewis explained.
Inmates are also given 90 days credit off the sentence to be part of the program, and if they fail to get those follow up shots, they could end up back behind bars.
It’s a risk Levi doesn’t want to take.
“If you get the opportunity to do it, take it and run with it,” Alfred said.
By: Evan Gorman
Published: November 7, 2018