Help Indiana in battle against drug abuse

By Woody Burton

Indiana is facing a drug abuse crisis. Nearly 10 percent of Hoosiers suffer from some form of substance abuse. To help curb illegal drug use and to get Hoosiers the help they need, I supported efforts to further expand treatment options in our community.

Valle Vista Health System in Greenwood will now serve as one of Indiana’s 19 new opioid treatment programs. Another option in our community is the Tara Treatment Center, a residential treatment facility south of Franklin, providing resources for those struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.

For local Hoosiers struggling with addiction, I encourage them to reach out to Valle Vista Health System at 1-800-447-1348 or the Tara Treatment Center at 1-800-397-9978.

Those who bear the greatest brunt of the drug epidemic are often innocent children caught in the chaos. Every 25 minutes in the U.S., a newborn is delivered with opioid withdrawal symptoms. Children born with this life-threatening condition were exposed to addictive drugs while their mother was pregnant with them.

A pilot program conducted by the Indiana State Department of Health recently found the incident rate of opioids in Hoosier newborns was more than double the national average. These heartbreaking statistics are why I supported a new policy that includes neonatal abstinence syndrome as a condition for determining if a newborn child is in need of services and providing them with immediate addiction treatment.

Adolescents and teenagers are affected as well. Over 50 percent of the minors removed from Indiana homes by the Department of Child Services is due to substance abuse.

Addiction is tearing families apart and stretching government resources. We must get addicted parents and juveniles the mental health and treatment they need. To ensure quality standards, the Family and Social Services Administration will now certify Recovery Residences.

These facilities provide addiction treatment services to those without insurance coverage who are involved with the criminal justice system. Additionally, policymakers authorized counties to oversee these facilities, making sure individuals with mental illness or chronic addiction are living in a safe environment and continue on the path to recovery.

Giving counties the authority to quickly step in will help ensure taxpayer dollars are being used effectively and that these individuals are getting the expert help they so desperately need.

Our state’s devastating drug crisis is something I am taking very seriously. With 75 percent of repeat offenders having a substance abuse disorder, we know we won’t be able to arrest our way out of this problem.

The repeated cycle of simply arresting and incarcerating addicts is not only ineffective, but it’s devastating for families and communities. For many Hoosiers, substance abuse affects them in one way or another.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, I urge you to contact Indiana’s Addiction Hotline at 1-800-662-4357 or online at www.in.gov/fssa and click on Indiana Addiction Hotline under Addiction Services.

State Rep. Woody Burton (R-Whiteland) represents a portion of Johnson County. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.