opioid epidemic

Opioids Impact Indiana's Infant Mortality Rate

Nov 15, 2017

The Indiana Department of Health marked five years of its Labor of Love summit, an annual event aimed at reducing the state’s infant mortality rate. The rate of infants dying before their first birthday has risen steadily since the campaign began, mainly because of substance use disorders.

When the initiative kicked off in 2012, 556 babies lost their life – last year that number was 623. Indiana State Health Commissioner Kristina Box says any progress the state has made has been overshadowed.

The Indiana Commission On Improving the Status of Children is working to tackle one part of the shortage of mental health providers.

Indiana Association of Resources and Child Advocacy executive director Cathleen Graham says the shortage of professionals comes from a number of factors: Indiana has almost doubled the number of children in the welfare system and the opioid epidemic contributed to longer stays in the system while parents and guardians get sober.

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Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

A presidential commission last week released its report on recommendations to help curb the nation’s opioid crisis. Indiana stakeholders say they’re heartened the crisis is receiving national attention but think parts of the report missed the mark.

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Jake Harper / Side Effects

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said it’s past time for the U.S. to deal with the opioid epidemic.

Christie, who chairs the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, spoke Monday at the Indiana attorney general’s Prescription Drug Abuse Symposium in Indianapolis.

Public Health Study Committee Wraps Up Summer Work

Oct 26, 2017

A legislative study committee on public health issues voted Thursday to recommend the General Assembly take action on diabetes and the state’s nursing shortage as it wrapped up its work ahead of the next legislative session.

In recent years diabetes action plans have failed at the Statehouse. But this year’s study committee showed momentum.

Eskenazi pharmacist Jasmine Gonzolva, a non-legislative member of the committee, says much of the focus is on screening and prevention.

New Website Compiles Opioid Epidemic Resources

Oct 3, 2017

The state has launched a new website to fight the opioid epidemic. The Next Level Recovery Indiana site has state data, facts, current initiatives, and ways for people to get involved in combating the opioid epidemic.

Indiana’s executive director for drug prevention, treatment and enforcement, Jim McClelland, says up until now it’s been hard for Hoosiers to find the information they need.

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Emily Forman / WFYI

In Indiana, experts admit the bar for involuntary treatment — committing someone to medical care without their consent  — is high. Currently, if law enforcement deems a person dangerous or gravely disabled, an officer can transport them to a treatment facility against their will.

 

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Community Health Network

The state has named an Indianapolis-based OB-GYN as Indiana’s next health commissioner.

Dr. Kristina Box will fill the position left vacant earlier this month when former health commissioner Jerome Adams became U.S. Surgeon General.