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Athens County treatment program marks five years

Prosecutor says overdose deaths declined dramatically
Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 4:33 PM EST
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ATHENS, Ohio- (WTAP) - A treatment program started in Athens County to reduce drug overdose deaths recently marked its fifth anniversary.

The Vivitrol treatment program, begun in 2015 by Prosecutor Keller Blackburn, just announced its most recent graduates.

Blackburn’s office says since it began, the county has dropped from 20th among Ohio’s 88 counties to 81st in drug overdose deaths per 100,000 people.

”We need to deal with the underlying causes of why someone is involved in crime and, most notably, drugs are a leading cause of crime,” Blackburn said in a statement. “If we can treat the addiction, we can get people out of the justice system.”

The medication is taken by injection, is non-addictive and treats both the physical and mental elements of addiction.

Blackburn says his office was the first in the nation to offer the program.

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