Department of Corrections celebrates graduates of opioid treatment program

17 recovering addicts celebrated completing the Department of Correction's opioid treatment program, September 12, 2017. (WLUK) 

APPLETON (WLUK) -- It's a moment 25-year-old Brandon Dietz of Waupaca says he couldn't be more proud of.

"I've been clean since Nov. 9 of 2016," explained Dietz.

He says, like many others, his addiction started with prescription drugs, "I found them, and once I started doing that, I realized it wasn't working for me anymore, so I switched to heroin."

Dietz, along with 17 others, celebrated completing the Department of Correction's opioid treatment program.

The program uses another drug, Vivitrol, to help curve cravings.

"It is probably the most integrated drug now being used to overcome the opioid epidemic, that's what it basically does. It blocks inhibitors in your brain from the opioid craving," said Jon Litscher, Department of Correction's Secretary.

Litscher says the program started in January.

Over 12 weeks, participants work with a parole officer.

In addition to the Vivitrol, Listcher says the provided support services are also a vital piece of the program, "The various types of of A-A programs, or drug dependency programs, employable enhancement, whatever the case may be."

In what he says, is a part of their efforts to end the abuse of prescription drugs, "You have to deal with it, you have to face it, you have to treat it."

As for Dietz, the program has given him a new outlook on life, "I needed that push, and this gave me my push."

In total, 24 people have completed the program since it started at the beginning of the year.

Governor Walker included nearly $2 million in his last budget to help cover the costs.

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