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Indiana drug czar sees ‘encouraging signs’ in fight against epidemic

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Drug addiction is an epidemic that kills Hoosiers every day.

Sarah, still in high school, is one year sober after becoming involved in alcohol and drug use at age 13.

“Recovery is a personal journey,” Sarah, who attends the Hope Academy, said. “No one’s recovery will ever be perfect.”

Indiana’s drug czar, Jim McClelland, said he has seen encouraging signs in the state’s efforts to fight the drug epidemic. As executive director for drug prevention, treatment and enforcement for the state, he chairs the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse, which met Friday.

“There’s a lot of activity, on a lot of fronts. We are way beyond where we were two years ago, we still have a long way to go,” McClelland said. 

For the second year, the federal 21st Century Cures Act will give Indiana more than $10 million.

This is the first year Indiana will receive more than $18 million from state opioid response grants that Congress authorized.

“Our first and foremost objective every single day is to stop that overdose. …To stop that death,” said Doug O’Brien, regional director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The state has used some of that federal money for community training. Federal funds are also helping get treatment for people who cannot afford rehab. And it has been used to create two mobile addiction response teams in 14 counties in southeast Indiana.

“(For people) who otherwise either would not have had access in their community or county to be connected to care,” Kevin Moore, director of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction, Family and Social Services Administration said about those federal funds. 

The care is available for treating all drug addictions.

“Our number one drug of abuse is methamphetamine,” said David Powell, the executive director of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council. “It’s growing at a number that is unacceptable.” 

“Meth is having a resurgence,” McClelland said. “We’re going to have to broaden our attention more to address that as well.”

The commission next meets in May. 

Resources for treatment of addiction 

For more information about the state’s fight against addiction, and to find resources, click here. 

If you or someone you know is fighting addiction, click here for treatment and help where you live. For more resources where you live, click here.

You can also dial 211 or call the Indiana Addiction Hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357), or click here to talk to someone.

Here is more information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.