Sen. Young Working To Eliminate Infectious Diseases Caused By Substance Abuse

Mar 27, 2018

Sen. Todd Young wants to expand national efforts to address infectious diseases caused by substance abuse disorders.
Credit WFIU/WTIU News

Indiana’s Republican U.S. Senator wants to expand national efforts to address infectious diseases caused by substance abuse disorders.

The Scott County HIV outbreak helped spark the idea for the legislation.

The “Eliminating Opioid-Related Infectious Disease Act” would allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to expand education, monitoring and treatment efforts for infectious diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C.

Senator Todd Young and two of his colleagues introduced the bill this week. He says it could help prevent another public health crisis like the HIV outbreak in Scott County, which started with people sharing needles.

“CDC has already identified roughly 220 counties across 26 states that today are quite vulnerable to similar outbreaks,” Young says. “Ten of those are in Indiana.”

Young says it’s important for national efforts to focus not only on reacting to the opioid epidemic, but also preventing some of the collateral consequences, like the spread of infectious diseases. He says a big part of that involves educating the public on the risks. 

“The real emphasis here, in addition to capacity building after a crisis, there’s a real focus on prevention and empowering the CDC, working with the states to prevent people from getting HIV, Hep C in the first place,” he says.

Young says no additional funding would be necessary to expand the programs, but he isn’t opposed to more funding for addressing prevention of infectious diseases.