Jim Merritt

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The General Assembly this session will look to address the state’s ongoing drug crisis by expanding the Lifeline law and making it easier for people to get their hands on a drug that halts the fatal effects of a drug overdose.  The proposed legislation comes with the backing of Governor Mike Pence and the state’s drug abuse task force.

Kesha Phillips / https://www.flickr.com/photos/wegotkidz/14274377648

Republican State Senators say legislation they’re proposing to put certain cold medicines behind the counter is a balanced solution to help solve Indiana’s meth production problem. 

The bill is an alternative to legislation that would make pseudoephedrine available only through a prescription.

Legislation to make the key meth ingredient pseudoephedrine available only by prescription is endorsed by both the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Association and House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis). 

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Indiana’s synthetic drug law bars the sale of certain compounds and look-alikes, while allowing the pharmacy board to add new compounds to the list of banned substances. 

Two of the first people convicted under the law challenged the statute, claiming it was too vague to be constitutional. 

They also argued the General Assembly couldn’t delegate that much authority to an administrative agency, and the state Court of Appeals agreed.  But the Supreme Court went the other way. 

Indiana Drug Law Not Sure How To Label 'Gravel'

Aug 18, 2015
Chris Wieland / https://www.flickr.com/photos/telekon/6936276638/

Police and prosecutors are keeping a wary eye on Indiana's southern border for the latest variation on synthetic drugs.

Alpha-PVP, more commonly known as Flakka or gravel, has made its biggest impact in Florida, where it's been blamed for 29 deaths in the Fort Lauderdale area. It's been spotted in at least 10 other states, including Illinois and Ohio. There was also widespread use in rural Kentucky, about 100 miles from Lawrenceburg.

Underage Drinking Law Gets Social Media Relaunch

Aug 17, 2015
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Indiana’s Lifeline Law allows underage Hoosiers to call the police without fear of getting into trouble for drinking if they see someone that is the victim of a crime or needs medical attention.

The law’s author, State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis), is renewing a social media campaign that aims to teach students about the law. he says this is the first year that campaign will emphasize that the law also applies if students are trying to help a victim of sexual assault.

Caro Wallis / https://www.flickr.com/photos/carowallis1/

Indiana is struggling to keep so-called "synthetic drugs" off store shelves, but legislators don‘t expect any similar challenges with another banned substance soon to hit the market.

An Arizona company plans to begin selling powdered alcohol, or palcohol, this summer.

Indiana joined 11 other states this year in banning it.

Three more have imposed temporary bans.

Indianapolis Senator Jim Merritt authored both that law and Indiana‘s ban on drugs such as bath salts and synthetic marijuana, or Spice.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

A new ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court may complicate Indiana’s plans to eliminate bath salts. Indiana allows the Board of Pharmacy to ban new compounds for the drug on short notice to keep up with changing formulas, but the Supreme Court decision may strike that law.

The Court unanimously voted not to convict a Virginia man for dealing bath salts after ruling prosecutors must prove he knew the chemical compound he dealt and knew it was illegal to distribute them.

Free-for-all Could Ensue For Coats' Senate Seat

Jun 1, 2015
courtesy Dan Coats

The field for the seat of the retiring Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN) may not be complete yet. Former Coats and Mitch Daniels chief of staff Eric Holcomb and Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R-3rd) are already seeking the Republican nomination. But Rep. Todd Young (R-9th) hasn‘t ruled it out, and says he‘s laying groundwork in case he decides to take the plunge.

"In due time we will make known my family’s decision, my own decision… It should be soon enough," Young says.

zamboni-man / https://www.flickr.com/photos/42030424@N08/

Two local law enforcement agencies are joining police departments across the nation in equipping officers with an antidote to heroin overdoses.

But not everyone agrees allowing police to administer Narcan is the best response to an increase in heroin use.

West Lafayette Police Chief Jason Dombkowski says heroin wasn’t really on the department’s radar until February. That’s when a Purdue student died from a heroin overdose. And while the incident occurred in Lafayette, Dombkowski realized the department needed to be better prepared to address drug use.

Flickr Creative Commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/intropin/4499124890

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.”

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