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The Opioid Crisis: Is Anything Working?

As an Indiana taxpayer, you're paying plenty of tax money to help curb the crisis. What has been done that actually helps?

STATE WIDE--The opioid crisis in Indiana is costing you money. Your tax dollars are being used by both the state and the feds to try and slow the problem down and get people off drugs before their lives are ruined. But, you may be wondering if anything is working. 

"I think there's some things that are working in small pockets, in small ways," said Scott Watson, addiction counselor with Heartland Intervention. "But, certainly we're not throwing a wet blanket over a fire with any particular aspect of what the federal government is doing." 

You might read or hear on the radio about different measures the federal government and lawmakers are trying. The 21st Century Cures Act, will provide law enforcement with Narcan, so they can stop the effects of an overdose, before the person dies. 

"Things like the antidote which is being used to reverse heroin and other opioid overdoses is effective. There was a study that came out and indicated that in about 94 percent of the cases that antidote is successful," said Watson, who helps people got off opioids and other drugs. 

He said that even though lives can be saved with Narcan, people often go right back to the drug. 

"Of those that survived, an alarmingly low number are still alive a year later. About 35 percent of those deaths are due to a second, third or fourth overdose," he said. 

Watson compared the opioid epidemic to a tidal wave, with a paper towel to clean it up. He said not to expect any magic bullets anytime soon, though you can expect to see more effort from the state and the federal government. He said you can expect to hear soon about an appointment by the Trump administration, of someone to oversee the federal government's efforts to fight the crisis, after it was declared a national emergency.

PHOTO: Thinkstock/purera dinacephoto

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