Congress now investigating Scott County HIV outbreak

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Congress is now looking into the causes behind the HIV outbreak in Scott County.

State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams told a Congressional subcommittee Thursday that the HIV rate in Scott County is higher than the rate in any country in sub-Saharan Africa.

160 people have tested positive and Adams is asking for federal help.

Dr. Adams appeared alongside state health officials from Colorado, Massachusetts, and Missouri to explain what’s being done and what needs to be done to curb opioid addictions.

Members of the subcommittee include two Indiana members of Congress, Susan Brooks and Larry Bucshon.

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Adams told them that there is a need for more drug education for everyone from school students to prescribers and he told the story of a young man in Scott County to make his case.

“He said ‘I had an injury as a freshman in high school,’ knee injury playing football,” said Dr. Adams. “The doc prescribed me Vicodin. I kind of liked how it made me feel so I took all the Vicodin he gave me, took some more, ran out. He said it was easy to get in the community. Got more Vicodin, finally that wasn’t doing the job, switched to Oxycontin till that wasn’t doing the job, then I started injecting and then he switched over to heroin and now he’s a 23-year-old HIV addict.”

Dr. Adams said there is a need to get to those people earlier and that 1 in 15 young people who pop a pain pill will go on to a heroin addiction.

He also said the flow of drugs needs to be stopped and there needs to be more efforts aimed at addiction recovery.