drug abuse

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The number of new HIV infections in southeastern Indiana now sits at 153.

While the number of cases continues to rise, incidence of infection has slowed down, and officials hope to see it plateau soon.

A local community outreach center in Scott County has become a one-stop shop for testing, HIV treatment coordination and, insurance enrollment. Since the outbreak has been linked to injection drug use, referrals for addiction treatment are also available.

Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Legislative leaders say they‘re open to expanding an emergency needle-exchange program in Scott County to other parts of the state, as long as it goes beyond needles.

Senate President David Long (R-Fort Wayne) says legislators are working to expand a House-passed needle-exchange bill to incorporate provisions for HIV testing, drug treatment and enforcement. Long says it’d be a step toward combating drug runners who use Indiana as a storefront for their products.

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Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is urging the legislature to pass a bill that would allow permanent needle exchanges in some Indiana counties.

Zoeller heads the state’s Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, and he cited concerns over the ongoing HIV crisis in Scott County. So far, more than 130 people have tested positive for HIV since just December. A majority of the cases have been linked to injection drug use.

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When Justin Phillips lost her son Aaron to a heroin overdose in October of 2013, she didn’t know there was a drug that could have saved his life. Now, she’s a passionate advocate of making naloxone available to people like her. At a recent Indiana House committee meeting, she told lawmakers that she doesn’t want other parents to go through what she did.

“Aaron was a brother, a friend, a talented quarterback, and an adolescent without a fully-formed decision-making center in his brain,” she said. “Aaron only used heroin for four short months. And he really wanted to quit.”

Pharmacies To Start Disposing Of Unwanted Drugs

Sep 16, 2014
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In three weeks, Hoosiers will be able to return unused prescription drugs to pharmacies year-round, instead of waiting for periodic "drug takeback days."   

President Obama signed a law four years ago repealing Drug Enforcement Administration requirements that only police or DEA agents could receive and dispose of leftover medication. But it‘s taken the DEA until now to finalize rules to let drugstores handle it themselves.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

The state is developing treatment rules prompted by legislation that will significantly limit how much drug addiction treatment medication patients can take home. 

Federal law caps the amount of methadone patients can take home.  If someone’s been in treatment for at least six months, they can get three doses to take home per week.  After a year, they can get 14 days worth of the medication; after two years, 30 days. 

Erich Ferdinand / https://www.flickr.com/photos/erix/142789779

The American Cancer Society says Indiana has improved significantly when it comes to pain management policies.  But a report from the Society’s Cancer Action Network says the state still has more to do.

There are only eight states that received less than a B from the Cancer Action Network in its report on pain management and patient care policies.  Indiana moved this year from a C-plus to a B. 

Network Associate Director David Woodmansee says that’s because of a new step taken by the State Medical Board.