Extended-release naltrexone and drug treatment courts: Policy and evidence for implementing an evidence-based treatment

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2018 Feb;85:101-104. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2017.02.016. Epub 2017 Feb 28.


With insufficient access to treatment and a tradition of criminalizing addiction, people with substance use disorders - including opioid dependence - are more likely to be incarcerated than they are to receive the treatment they need. Drug treatment courts aim to address this problem, engaging their participants in substance use treatment in lieu of incarceration. Drug courts offer an especially important window of opportunity to connect opioid-dependent participants to extended-release naltrexone (XR-NTX), at a time when they are under highly-structured court supervision and required to detoxify from opioids to participate. Given the high cost of XR-NTX and high rates of uninsurance in the drug court population, new rigorous cost-effectiveness evidence is needed to demonstrate the extent to which XR-NTX improves program outcomes, including by reducing recidivism. With that new evidence, drug courts and the counties in which they are situated can make informed and difficult policy decisions about funding XR-NTX for some of their highest-risk community members.

Keywords: Cost-effectiveness; Drug treatment courts; Extended-release naltrexone; Recidivism.

MeSH terms

  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Evidence-Based Medicine* / economics
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Jurisprudence*
  • Naltrexone / therapeutic use*
  • Narcotic Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / economics
  • Recidivism / prevention & control


  • Delayed-Action Preparations
  • Narcotic Antagonists
  • Naltrexone