Anoka Sheriff's Office offers some inmates medication to treat opioid addiction

The Anoka County Sheriff's Office says it'll now offer some inmates addicted to opioids a medication that can lessen cravings and block them from using opioids like heroin or prescription painkillers.

The sheriff's office is partnering on the new program with drug manufacturer Alkermes, which makes the medication Vivitrol.

In a statement on Wednesday, the sheriff's office said the company will pay the cost of the first dose of medication. The inmate will then be eligible to work with a provider to continue treatment after their release.

The launch of the new program follows a spate of other activity by state and local officials to try to reduce opioid overdose deaths in the state, which have risen steadily over the last 15 years.

The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office and the Minnesota Attorney General's Office have both recently launched programs to reduce overdose deaths.

Minnesota lawmakers have also proposed a series of bills aimed at combating the state's opioid overdose epidemic.

Officials with the Anoka County Sheriff's Office, Alkermes and treatment provider Nystrom Associates will answer questions about the new program at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

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