New research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) revealed that the relapse rates among criminal justice involved adults with a history of opioid dependence were lower for participants receiving extended-release naltrexone than for those receiving treatment as usual (brief counseling and referrals for community treatment programs). Administered as a monthly injection, naltrexone is an FDA-approved sustained-release, opioid antagonist for the prevention of relapse to opioid dependence.
This study is the first large randomized trial of extended-release naltrexone versus usual care conditions among criminal justice involved adults. The findings showed that 24 weeks (six monthly injections) of extended-release naltrexone resulted in a significantly lower opioid relapse rate (43 percent vs. 64 percent) among the two groups. Additionally, while there were no overdoses observed in the extended-release naltrexone group, there were seven in the usual care group, with three resulting in fatalities.
For a copy of the abstract, “Extended-Release Naltrexone to Prevent Opioid Relapse in Ex-Offenders,” published in The New England Journal of Medicine, go to http://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa1505409.
For more information about criminal justice and drug abuse, including Principles of Drug Abuse Treatment for Criminal Justice Populations - A Research-Based Guide, go to: https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/criminal-justice-drug-abuse
NIDA Press Office
About the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): NIDA is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIDA supports most of the world’s research on the health aspects of drug use and addiction. The Institute carries out a large variety of programs to inform policy, improve practice, and advance addiction science. For more information about NIDA and its programs, visit www.drugabuse.gov.
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