Some addiction experts say President Donald Trump’s plan to expand the use of naltrexone in criminal justice settings to combat the nation’s opioid crisis is a step in the right direction, but still falling short.
According to a STAT article, experts say pushing access to medication-assisted treatment is an improvement, but more than a single treatment should be available and chosen in accordance with the individual needs of the patient and physician input.
A White House spokesman said the Trump administration’s plan was to give inmates who meet the criteria for a substance-use disorder a monthly injection of Vivitrol, a drug which blocks the effects of opioids and staves off cravings.
Massachusetts-based Alkermes manufactures the drug. According to STAT, the company was the subject of an investigation launched in November by Sen. Kamala Harris regarding marketing practices.
Even some health officials have expressed doubts about the administration’s approach.
“We don’t per se favor one drug over the other, because some patients respond better to one or the other,” National Institute on Drug Abuse Director Nora Volkow said. “It is clear that treatment in the prison system significantly improves outcomes, whether it’s [with naltrexone or buprenorphine].”