drug overdose

Opioid Overdoses May Be Seriously Undercounted

Mar 21, 2018
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Jake Harper / Side Effects

In a refrigerator in the coroner’s office in Marion County, Indiana, rows of vials await testing. They contain blood, urine and vitreous, the fluid collected from inside a human eye. In overdose cases, the fluids may contain clues for investigators. 

Tex Texin / flickr.com/photos/textexin/3612094774

In March, the Frankfort Police Department will begin to treat every drug overdose as a crime scene in an effort to find and convict drug dealers.

According to new overdose guidelines, officers will first respond to the overdose in a medical sense. And if an opioid was involved, they’ll administer the overdose-reversal drug naloxone.

Then, officers will collect evidence and statements from the scene to help build criminal cases against drug dealers.

Deputy Chief Scott Shoemaker says he’s confident most victims won’t cooperate, so police will dig deeper.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Legislation approved by the Senate Tuesday creates a new crime to charge drug dealers with higher penalties if the person they deliver those drugs to overdoses and dies. But some lawmakers worry the measure will ensnare otherwise innocent people.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Indiana lawmakers want to create a new crime to dramatically increase penalties for drug dealers if the buyer overdoses and dies.

Under current law, if you give a friend a small amount of Adderall or Ritalin and they overdose and die, you could get up to two and a half years in prison. If proposed legislation passes, you could get up to 40 years.

Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council executive director David Powell says the bill sends a message to drug dealers, even if it will rarely be used.

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA

Tippecanoe County is one of four in the state selected to start a data-collecting pilot program on drug overdose deaths.

The Tippecanoe County Drug Overdose Fatality Review Team would report to the state health department who is dying from drug overdoses, circumstances surrounding each death and any commonalities between cases.

Deputy Prosecutor Jason Biss says the team’s job is to examine each overdose beyond the autopsy.

The Indiana State Department of Health has awarded $127,000 in naloxone kits to rural Indiana counties. The opioid overdose reversal medication is going to the counties with high numbers of emergency room overdose visits.

Thirty-four rural counties will receive nearly 3,400 naloxone kits, to be distributed to first responders. The federal grant money is part of a larger $3.2 million gift the state received last year.

Indiana Health Ranking Improves, Still Falls Short

Dec 21, 2017

The United Health Foundation’s annual state rankings are out. Indiana was ranked 38th in the country, up one spot from last year.

The analysis provides a benchmark for states and in Indiana does see improvements like drops in smoking rates and childhood poverty. Low health provider access continues to be an issue says Dr. Julia Daftari with United Health Care in Indiana.

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Sarah Fentem

A new study shows some people are still afraid to call 911 when helping an overdose victim, despite an Indiana law that permits friends and bystanders to administer the overdose antidote naloxone.

More than a quarter of people surveyed by two researchers at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis said they didn’t call 911 at the scene of an overdose for fear of arrest.

ADAPT Pharma / narcan.com

The overdose reversal drug naloxone is in high demand across Indiana. But the state is now seeing more mixes of opioids causing overdoses. That’s leading first responders to go through their supplies more quickly.

Overdoses caused by multiple types of opioids require larger or repeated doses of naloxone.

Justin Phillips founded the group Overdose Lifeline and says first responders may have to administer as many as a dozen doses of naloxone to combat one overdose caused by a mix of drugs.

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