What drug treatment experts hope to see in Indiana’s drug epidemic strategy

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — This week, Indiana will unveil a drug epidemic strategy. A plan treatment experts know how badly the state needs to get right.

Over the past few years, opioid-use is a growing problem for health experts. To fight it, Indiana lawmakers provided the governor with millions for a plan, something Fairbank Treatment Center said workers can’t come soon enough.

“It is as bad as I have ever seen in the 30 years that I’ve been working in the field,” Fairbanks Treatment Center chief clinical officer Robin Parsons said.

“It is an absolute crisis that is happening with the opioid epidemic,” Fairbanks Treatment Center alumni and volunteer relations member Kathleen Gila said.

Volunteer Kathleen Gila knows firsthand. She’s in long-term recovery for alcohol abuse, and helps many others dealing with opioids.

“It’s incredibly difficult to come to a place of surrender when you are caught in addiction,” Gila said.

Fairbanks is one place people can get help. Last year, the center reached 20,000 people through education. But employees say the state needs to do more.

“Especially junior high, high schools, middle schools,” Parsons said. “We know that a lot of people who have substance disorder start as early as 12 to 15-years-old.”

In addition to providing learning, recovery experts hope the state expands narcan and needle exchange programs. “We can’t help a person get better if they don’t survive the addiction,” Parsons said.

Gila knows how true this is, and how a strong state strategy can help all Hoosiers. “If you, or family members are not affected by addiction there is a strong chance that your neighbor might be affected by addiction, or that somebody you work with might be affected by addiction,” Gila said. “And before long you will most likely come to know somebody that is affected by addiction.”

The governor’s team will unveil the framework Thursday at 10:00 a.m. The agenda released this week said in addition to the plan, they discuss narcan, grants and pilot programs.

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