New coalition created to fight opioid addiction

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The State’s Department of Health says more than 1,500 Hoosiers died from a drug overdose in 2016 — 785 of those involved opioids. 

Tuesday, lawmakers, business and community leaders from across the state, came together to do something about it.

We were at the first meeting of a brand new coalition, the Prescription Abuse Leadership initiative.

State Senator Jim Merritt, a Republican from Indianapolis, explained “It will help them find that treatment clinic, find that  counselor, get into a detox treatment recovery system of care.”

Tuesday, the new coalition gave $25,000 to the Indiana Chamber and Indiana’s Wellness Council. The money goes to help employers boost treatment and help stop substance use disorder among workers.

Kevin Brinegar, President of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce said, “Focus on de-stigmatization so when someone does get treatment and they come back to the workplace, they’re not ostracized.”

Indiana’s Drug Czar, Jim McClelland, points to a new program, as an example, that looks like it’s working at a company, in Richmond. 

Jim McClelland, Indiana’s Drug Czar explained, “A person who does not pass a drug test when they apply for a job with them, Belden will offer to connect them with treatment. If they adhere to the treatment protocol, they will bring them back in and they’ll give them a job.” 

The group also announced they’re giving away thousands of drug bags. How it works is, you open it up, put up to 45 pills you don’t want inside. Then, place some water in. Once it dissolves, just throw it away.

Jennifer Pferrer, Executive Director of the Wellness Council of Indiana said, “The kits allow individuals to take unused prescriptions, and dispose of them properly.”

Pferrer said they’re working on where and how to distribute them to you, statewide, for free. 

To learn more about the RxALI, click here.

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