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Opioid Abuse: Lawmakers Say They Are Serious About Stopping It in 2018

Both state lawmakers and your lawmakers in D.C. say more treatment facilities are necessary in Indiana.

STATE HOUSE--Opioid addiction has killed mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters in Indiana. Lawmakers say they are getting even more serious about doing what they can to help people and keep more Hoosiers from dying in 2018.

"The opioid epidemic affects more than just addicts. It can affect generations of Hoosier families," said state Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove), who has introduced a bill that would help open up nine new treatment centers across the state.

"This legislation (HB 1007) would greatly improve access to addiction treatment programs throughout the state, ensuring Hoosiers, particularly in underserved areas, have options to begin and sustain their recovery process," she said.

Kirchhofer said the geographic location of these future programs will be an important consideration during the approval process as the state works to ensure every Hoosier is within an hour drive of an opioid treatment program facility.

She said the Dept. of Mental Health and Addiction would have oversight.

This proposal would also provide provisional credentialing to Hoosier mental health professionals who are qualified to treat those with addiction when they change employers. This would streamline the hiring process for addiction treatment providers, accelerating the delivery of qualified treatment to those who need it, said a news release from Kirchhofer.

Congress should also be doing more to provide federal money to Indiana and other states where opioid addiction is epidemic, said Sen. Joe Donnelly.

In a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, Donnelly said Congress left too much undone in 2017, and that they should make up for it immediately.

"Sen. (Lisa) Murkowski (R-Alaska) and I have partnered on a bi-partisan bill that would encourage addiction treatment professionals to serve in underserved areas by making addiction treatment facilities eligible for national Health Service Corps. student loan repayment and forgiveness," said Donnelly.

"At the very least Congress should not make this situation worse."

PHOTO: Thinkstock/Kinishirote

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