Indiana, along with the rest of the United States, continues to face a drug epidemic. Drug overdoses are now the No. 1 cause of accident-related deaths in our state, and addiction is wreaking havoc on Hoosier families and communities.
During the 2017 legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly made it a top priority to combat the epidemic, passing legislation that focuses on a three-pronged approach of prevention, enforcement and treatment.
To help prevent addiction, Senate Enrolled Act 226 prohibits doctors from prescribing more than a seven-day supply of opioids to most patients if it’s their first opioid prescription. Senate Enrolled Act 151 and Senate Enrolled Act 408 work together to prevent opioid users from “doctor shopping” for multiple prescriptions by improving INSPECT, the state’s prescription-tracking program.
To keep individuals who help fuel the epidemic off the streets, House Enrolled Act 1406 increases sentences for repeat heroin dealers who make a career out of getting people addicted to drugs. House Enrolled Act 1540 increases penalties for individuals who rob or try to rob pharmacies of controlled substances.
In order to increase access to addiction treatment, Senate Enrolled Act 59 allows out-of-state psychologists, mental-health counselors, addiction counselors and social workers to receive a temporary Indiana license to practice here if they have practiced for at least five years in another state without any disciplinary issues.
The drug crisis in our state and country is a serious matter, and it’s an issue lawmakers do not take lightly. In 2015, there were 274 opioid pain reliever related-deaths in Indiana — a 1,000 percent increase since 2000.
At the Statehouse and in our communities, legislators are looking for ways to help slow and end this epidemic. The bills passed into law this year are only part of the years-long fight we have ahead of us as our society tries to get a handle on this problem.
I welcome your input on this topic and others. My office can be reached at 800-382-9467 or by email at Senator.Long@iga.in.gov.
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