Madison - St. Clair Record

Monday, September 16, 2019

Madison County court to fight opioid addiction among jail inmates with shared grant

By Ann Maher | Jun 6, 2017

The Madison County drug court will share in a $540,000 grant to start a “Behind the Walls” program to help combat opioid addiction in inmates at the Madison County Jail with the medication Vivitrol.  

Vivitrol is the injectable form of Naltrexone, a medication that slowly releases over a 30-day period and helps prevent addicts from relapsing.

The grant announced last week is among those given by the state's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) and part of the opioid State Targeted Response (STR) dedicated to providing jail-based services. Grant funds will be shared with McClean County.

Chief Judge Dave Hylla credited Madison County drug court Judge Kyle Napp's leadership and Sheriff John Lakin who will be taking on added responsibility in implementing the program for inmates "so that once released they don't return to jail," he said.

According to a press release from the court, inmates with opioid addiction problems will be provided Vivitrol along with recovery coaching and other treatment. If progressing, the inmate may continue to receive Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) after release along with other services.

Opioid addiction litigation against drug makers has arisen in courts across the country with mixed results.

A California judge stayed an addiction action in 2015, while awaiting research from the Food and Drug Administration.

Last year, a New Hampshire judge ruled that the state’s attorney general could not retain private counsel to pursue addiction claims on a contingency basis.

Motions to dismiss claims against Purdue Pharma in federal court in Chicago remain pending.

St. Clair County sued Purdue Pharma in April, picking up on claims made in the Chicago litigation.

The suit, brought by State's Attorney Brendan Kelly, claims the drug maker addicted Illinois citizens for profit. Local plaintiffs’ attorneys David Cates of Swansea, Christopher Cueto of Belleville and Eric Holland and Seth Crompton of St. Louis were retained to pursue the claims on a contingency basis.

Purdue Pharma has fought the litigation. It responded to the St. Clair County suit with a statement:

"We share public officials’ concerns about the opioid crisis and we are committed to working collaboratively to find solutions. The delegation of law enforcement authority to a private law firm with a financial interest in the outcome creates serious public policy concerns and presents a clear conflict of interest. Therefore, we believe that the motion brought jointly by the defendants should be granted.”

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Madison County Circuit Court