Holding Hope for Drug Free Communities....In the Meantime:
I hold hope that someday we can eliminate drugs in our communities...., but in the meantime, I and many other concerned professionals and citizens will continue to work to address the root causes of substance use disorders, as well as, deliver the services needed to help those who are struck with substance use disorders.
There are many programs and providers who have recovery services available. I sit on the Armstrong Indiana Clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission, which helps coordinate services. I support legislation aimed at allowing the Drug and Alcohol Commission the ability to do their work effectively and safely. I support their educational programs as much as I possibly can, as do the other commissioners. AICDAC staff administer terrific programs that have helped many get the help they need to deal with the disease of addiction. One thing we are proud of is a program that connects an individual who has been treated for an overdose at the emergency room with a peer recovery specialist as soon as they are discharged: it's called "Warm Handoff" and has resulted in 80% of those using it, not relapsing.
The other thing the Commissioners have done is to enter into a multi district litigation suit to indict the top opioid distributors, McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc., AmerisourceBergen Corporation, Johnson & Johnson, Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Janssen Pharmaceutical Inc. The Commissioners joined the lawsuit in Jan. 2018: Commissioners agree to join lawsuit over opioid epidemic | News | indianagazette.com. Four years later, we are close to a settlement thanks to the work of Attorney General Josh Shapiro: Officials sign opioid settlement resolution | Local News | indianagazette.com
Also complicit in the opioid epidemic: Drug Enforcement Agency, and the legislators that helped by removing barriers to the distributors: Report: Distributors, DEA Failed to Abate U.S. Opioid Crisis | Iowa PBS and Understanding the Opioid Epidemic | PBS.
We will have to keep working locally, and hopefully with assistance from state and federal partners, to find solutions for our family members, colleagues, and friends who are dealing with this scourge. I think every citizen should be asking those in leadership, especially those who have had the power for the last many years in our rural areas, just what happened and why were the drug companies allowed to have so much leeway in distributing such lethal dosages of painkillers. There have been many in the profession who have been working hard to reverse this epidemic, but to be truthful has been a lack of leadership at the top on this.