Indiana’s drug czar presents plan to attack opioid crisis

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s new drug czar is detailing a plan to combat the state’s opioid crisis amid questions over whether it has enough funding to make a significant difference.

Former central Indiana Goodwill CEO Jim McClelland joined public health officials Thursday to present the plan.

It includes developing a network to distribute the expensive overdose-reversing drug Narcan to local communities.

The state also received a $10.9 million grant that will help pay for 60 to 75 new recovery facility beds. That’s in addition to $5 million the Legislature set aside for the overall effort.

Democrats questioned whether the state is spending enough to make a real difference. They said lawmakers raised taxes for infrastructure improvements, but did comparatively little to attack Indiana’s drug problem.

“This framework and action plan reflect months of partnership with diverse stakeholders and research on Indiana’s drug crisis,” McClelland said. “While much work remains, this plan is a critical first step in meeting Gov. Holcomb’s charge to attack our drug epidemic and its devastating effects on Hoosier lives.”

Key Principles:

  • Data Driven: Data will inform all systems and programs created for government, individuals, families and providers—evolving as learning increases and as Indiana’s drug crisis changes.
  • Comprehensive and Holistic: Indiana’s approach will be multi-faceted and focused on substance abuse prevention, early intervention, treatment, recovery and enforcement.
  • Collaborative: The state will align and focus the efforts of multiple state agencies that currently provide substance abuse services and resources. Further, Indiana’s approach makes clear that local communities, state officials, and the federal government must all have a stake in helping overcoming the drug crisis.

Major Strategies:

  • Reduce the incidence of substance abuse disorder.
  • Reduce additional harm that can result from substance abuse.
  • Improve treatment of people with substance abuse disorder.
  • Develop and support the ability of the executive director for drug prevention, treatment and enforcement to serve stakeholders—including those with substance abuse disorders, their families, service providers, and units of government.
  • Support and enhance substantial community-based collaborations aimed at prevention, treatment and recovery.

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