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FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) – When it comes to fighting heroin, one Hamilton County community is tackling the problem by focusing on prescription medication.

It’s the path one Hamilton County resident took to the drug.

“Five years ago, I was so miserable. I was in a hole, I didn’t know how to get out of it,” a former addict said.

24-Hour News 8 isn’t identifying him, at his request.

Growing up in the area, he knows its beauty. But at the same time, he knows the other side.

“Drugs are everywhere,” he said. “You can get drugs in any city and any state, no matter how beautiful or low the crime rate is.”

Six years ago, he began to learn this first hand, when he turned to prescription pills.

“They just made everything,” the former addict said. “They just made me feel good about who I was.”

But after a while, the pills weren’t enough.

“One day, you know, there’s no pills around and you start feeling sick, because your body becomes dependent on them, and one day someone offers heroin to you,” he said.

And that, he says, is how pills helped him become hooked on heroin.

“You never think that you’re going to be an addict,” he said. “You never think it’s going to happen to you.”

It’s a story Fishers Police Sgt. Tom Weger has heard before.

“I think, based on our research, that is (a) perfect example of how a heroin addict gets started,” Weger said.

In Fishers, Heroin is nowhere near the city’s biggest issue. In 2015, there were more than 1,600 arrests, with just 68 of them being heroin related, or 4 percent. To keep the number from rising, officers are focused on its root.

“What we have found is that this normally starts at an adolescence and they obtain the prescription medications from someone that we live with, and then once they move out of the home and they don’t have easy access to the prescription pills, then they have a tendency to turn to heroin,” Weger said.

Weger said to stop it, they’re focused on enforcement and education. One way is by giving people an easy way to dispose unwanted medication.

Getting the word out seems to have worked. Since they’ve put a pill box in place, they said so many people are bringing prescription pills that officers have to clean it out several times a week.

“We empty it three to four times a week, and so obviously people are making use of that resource,” Weger said.

Tackling heroin by pills is something the former addict likes to hear.

“That’s a start, but there’s so much more to the problem,” he said.

For him, it took three DUIs and a decision to go through a county program.

“The drug court program basically saved my life, because at the time I did not want to get clean,” the former addict said.

He completed it in September, and now works with addicts.

“Every time could be your last time, you never know,” he said.

He isn’t dealing with that now and is thankful to enjoy the beauty the area has to offer. In Hamilton County, there are a number of ways for people using heroin or pills to get help. For more information on the drug court, click here. For information on Fishers Police pill site, click here.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It’s a lifesaving tool that’s easy to use, but not always easy to get. Now a state senator is aiming to change that and some Hoosier families are hoping their stories can influence the decision.

Justin Phillips is not a first responder, but she can teach you how to save a life. Standing over her dining room table, she describes how to use a certain tool if a heroin user overdoses.

“We give them instructions on how to draw up the 1CC into the syringe,” she said as she held a vial of Naloxone in her hand.

Naloxone is also known as Narcan, the miracle medicine than can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose almost instantly.

Her non-profit, Overdose Lifeline Incorporated (ODI), put Narcan kits together to give to families or friends of people with opiate addictions. They come complete with two syringes, the drug, and directions on how to use it. Teresa Short already knows how to use them.

“I would probably enter it through the thigh of the muscle in their leg,” she said.

Short lost a step-son to an overdose. Her son is also a recovering heroin addict. Thanks to ODI, she keeps several doses of Narcan handy.

“I carry it in my car. I have it in my house and I feel comfortable that I could save him or save anyone,” Short said.

Thanks to a law passed in 2015, Hoosiers have two ways to get Narcan. They can reach out to Phillips’ organization or get a prescription. Phillips said the second option is where some of the difficulties begin.

“Families still struggle with the stigma that surrounds going to the doctor and admitting that they have this challenge in their family,” Phillips said.

She and Short added that they’ve heard of some families being denied getting a prescription, which leads them to contacting ODI. But if they can get past the fear of visiting and doctor and acquire a prescription, more difficulties pop up.

Not every a pharmacy has Narcan readily available. WISH-TV reached out to a few Walgreens locations in Indianapolis and they didn’t have it ready. Some of the pharmacy technicians didn’t even know what we were asking about.

One CVS location didn’t have it available, but Phillips said most CVS locations could order it within a day. Phillips worries that even waiting just 24 hours can make an already anxious family turn away.

“Right now the only pharmacies that we’re aware of where you can get it immediately are what’s called compounding pharmacies,” Phillips said.

Dr. Aziz Pharmacy on Indy’s north side is a compounding pharmacy. When we called, President Kurt Moyer explained how he had several kits available, similar to what ODI put together. The kits include a pair of gloves, instructions, and customers have the choice of picking the injectable Narcan or nasal spray.

Since last summer, Moyer said they’ve filled about 50 prescriptions.

“Part of compounding and independent pharmacy is being able to accommodate special needs for patients and one of those is being able to put together these kits for them,” he said.

ODI gives out prescription forms to start the process, but Phillips would prefer this sometimes troublesome step wasn’t even necessary.

“I think it’s going to make a tremendous amount of difference if you have one less step you have to go through,” said Phillips.

Luckily, Phillips has one lawmaker who agrees.

“This is just one factor in the pursuit of knocking the plague out,” said Senator Jim Merritt.

He introduced a bill this session that would allow people to get Narcan over the counter without a prescription.  More than a dozen states already have similar laws.

“This is kind of an insurance policy for maybe somebody in your cul-de-sac or maybe someone in your family who is struggling with addiction,” he said.

The bill would amend the law he spearhead last year that allowed prescription Narcan in the first place. It’s called Aaron’s Law and it’s named after Phillips’ son. He died of an overdose three years ago.

“I like this picture so much because I think he looks handsome in his plaid shirt,” she said looking down at a framed picture she keeps of her son in her living room.

On the one hand he would be like ‘really mom, you’re going to show my picture again? Will you cut it out,” she joked. “But on the other hand… he would be pleased that we were making a difference.”

Losing her son was undoubtedly difficult, but it’s also created an non-stop effort to make sure other families don’t experience the same pain.

“If my hindsight can make a difference then that’s what it’s about,” Phillips said.

If people are struggling to get a Narcan prescription written, Dr. Aziz Pharmacy also has a clinic where a doctor can take care of that.

We reached out to CVS Corporate to ask about the availability of Narcan at its pharmacies. A representative told us that there is a standing order in Indiana which works as a blanket prescription, similar to how pharmacies provide flu shots without a patient needing a prescription. The rep said it covers anyone how needs Narcan on-hand for an emergency whether they are an opiate user, a family member or a caregiver.

The rep added that the availability of Narcan will vary based on location and that if a CVS pharmacy doesn’t have it in stock it would be available within one business day.

If you’d like to reach out to ODI or learn more about obtaining a prescription, click here.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Katie Miller had been behind bars for about a week when we spoke with her.

“It all started as a child,” Katie said.

It’s not Katie’s first time behind bars, but still, she says it’s hard.

She has no access to her two kids, no access to the drugs her system is aching for.

“It’s something that you just crave, you want, you need,” said Katie.

She has no access to her own mother, Kimberly, who we sat down with the day before.

“She came to me asking me for help. She was afraid she was going to use heroin,” said Kimberly.

A recovering addict herself, Kimberly knew the urgency of Katie’s plea.

“I was like, ‘Mom, I’m done. I can’t take it anymore. Enough is enough.’ And she’s like, ‘All right, we’re going to do this.’ And I finally surrendered myself. It was about to be so much easier from here,” said Katie.

But at treatment center after treatment center, Katie was turned away because she didn’t have insurance.

“It kind of discouraged me to get any help at all because if it’s this hard then why don’t I just go back to my hard life of using drugs instead of trying to get help? It’s going to be hard either way,” said Katie.

Sure enough, It didn’t take long for Katie’s worst fear to come true. Soon, one of the most addictive drugs out there was coursing through her veins daily.

“Helplessness. Powerlessness. Because I can help so many others but yet I can’t help my own child,” said Kimberly.

It’s a story that’s common among addicts. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 60 percent of heroin users don’t have insurance. Most private inpatient rehab clinics cost $500 a day, simply unaffordable for most. And centers like the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center that do offer free treatment are often so crowded they’re only able to offer seven or 10 days. Most addicts need at least 90 days.

“We don’t treat other diseases, other chronic medical diseases the same way,” said Kim Manlove, director of Indiana Addictions Issues Coalition. “Addiction is a chronic medical disease of the brain. It’s been accepted by the American Medical Association for more than a decade as that, not unlike diabetes or cancer or heart disease.”

Manlove says even addicts with insurance are usually only covered for accute care like detox and a 12-step program.

“The piece that hasn’t been funded is that extended care piece. That is crucial to establishing and maintaining recovery,” said Manlove.

But Manlove says there’s hope. In fact, he calls what’s happening exciting. There’s more interest than ever in recovery services including promising alternatives to expensive inpatient rehab centers.

There are more medications available that help recovery. And there’s more interest from insurance companies to extend coverage.

Manlove says the progress is thanks, in part, to the heroin epidemic for elevating the discussion.

But for people like Katie Miller, solutions can’t come soon enough.

“We’re losing people every day. Every day,” said Kimberly.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – On Thursday, we covered how heroin was reaching Hoosiers and we brought in a panel of experts to talk about it the problems, solutions and how Hoosiers could have hope to kick the habit.

OLDENBERG, Ind. (WISH) – The heroin crisis has touched one state lawmaker in a personal way, and she’s doing something about it.

Rep. Cindy Ziemke, R-Batesville, is sharing her story in the hopes that it will help others.

Standing around the kitchen in the family home the Ziemkes are the picture of a close knit middle class family, but they’ve got a sad and scary story to tell.

“Sean was saved by Narcan over two years ago,” she said about her 25-year-old son Sean Ryan, “when he overdosed on heroin.”

It happened at home, and it convinced Sean that he was addicted to heroin, a drug he tried after first abusing prescription drugs.

“The type of drug that it is,” said Ziemke, “you just can’t ever try it.”

“I definitely agree,” said Sean. “Just one thing that’s hard for you to understand, I think, is you don’t wake up one day and decide, ‘I’m going to be an addict, like I think I’m going to be addicted to drugs.’ It’s a slow process that happens.”

And it happened just outside the small town of Oldenberg in Franklin County. That’s where the Ziemkes live.

Part of the lesson is that even in small towns, heroin is never far away, and it’s relatively inexpensive. And that’s one reason why Sean’s 23-year-old brother, Connor Ryan, ended up with a heroin addiction of his own.

“I just kind of went straight to heroin,” he said, “because it was readily available for people that I was hanging out with.”

Both Connor and Sean are now in recovery.

Cindy is back in the General Assembly, where she has sponsored legislation to expand the use of Narcan and is now speaking out on addiction-related issues.

“I certainly didn’t intend to be, you know, the drug mom of the General Assembly,” she said. “It’s just important to, to get rid of the stigma initially, so that people will get help and will realize there’s hope.”

And the family is still healing.

Sean’s stepfather, Tim Ziemke, relayed a conversation between the two of them.

“He said, ‘Are you mad at me?’ and I said, ‘Well, this is tough, if you he came in with cancer would I be mad at ya?'”

Both Sean and Connor now live in southern California, where they continue their recovery. Sean has been sober for two years and feels his life is heading in the right direction.

“I mean, now I’ve got my dream job,” he said. “I’ve got an amazing girlfriend, and I’ve saved up money for a new car and I never lose sight of what I’ve overcome and I continually work at it.”

And the Ziemkes are still the picture of a close knit middle class family, one with a story that is increasingly common.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Heroin is being blamed on the soaring number of children entering Indiana’s child welfare system, an I-Team 8 investigation uncovered.

More than 20,000 children fell under the watch of the state in 2015 – the highest total in eight years, according to an I-Team 8 review of Department of Child Services records. That figure easily eclipsed 2014’s total of more than 16,000 cases. Child welfare cases, which are often referred to as “child in need of services” or “CHINS” cases in Indiana, are many times spurred, experts say, by addicted parents who either end up in jail or are in drug treatment programs where they can’t care for their children.

“It was difficult,” said Jamie, an Indianapolis mother who asked not have her full name revealed.

She lost temporary custody of her eldest daughter for nearly a year while she was in drug treatment.

“My mom doesn’t quite understand that the easy part is getting off the drugs from the physical standpoint. The other standpoint is mental – because I had years of use – I used when I was happy, excited, lonely. It didn’t matter.  To learn how to function without the use of drugs was the battle,” she said.

As part of the investigation, I-Team 8 analyzed state data on child welfare cases and conducted interviews with more than a dozen stakeholders – from addicts to judges, parents to defense attorneys and drug treatment counselors.

While there is some debate among them about whether there is a single cause linked to these increased caseloads, the consensus remains the same – heroin is part of the equation and the drug’s choking grip on Indiana is suffocating a child welfare system already overburdened.

“I think in no small way that’s a huge problem – is the drug usage,” said Mary Beth Bonaventura, the director of Indiana’s Department of Child Services. “Children are remaining in care longer than they used to be and it’s a direct correlation of people not being able to recover from addiction.”

Nowhere is the problem more apparent than in Marion County, which had 3,800 child welfare cases in 2015, up from 2,300 cases just five years ago.

The increased caseloads have left the Department of Child Services looking to hire additional social workers.

DCS workers often act as prosecutors in CHINS cases. In turn, county public defenders like Bob Hill in Marion County have had to hire additional defense attorneys who can defend addicted parents in court during CHINS cases – where they are in danger of losing custody of their children while they’re in jail or in drug treatment.

“Yes, and what I’m saying is we are not doing a very good job of keeping our head above the water because of the increased caseloads,” Hill told I-Team 8.

Hill said he hired five additional defense attorneys in 2015 just to keep up with the increased caseloads.

Neil Weisman, the deputy chief public defender in St. Joseph County, said his county is also overwhelmed.

“We are getting more and more cases and we are approaching a point where we are out of compliance,” Weisman said in an interview with I-Team 8.

The fear with falling “out of compliance” with caseload maximums raises constitutional questions about whether these defense attorneys are providing adequate legal counsel to these indigent clients.

“This increase of 20 to 25 percent… frankly, I’m scared for my clients,” said David Shircliff, a defense attorney, during a recent meeting of the Indiana Public Defender Commission.

If more and more Indiana county public defenders fall out of compliance with caseload maximums, those counties stand to lose out on millions of dollars that are normally reimbursed by the state for representing indigent clients in child welfare cases.

In December, the Indiana Public Defender Commission voted to increase the caseload maximums to help counties like Marion stay in compliance. More specifically, public defenders who were previously told they can handle up to 120 child welfare cases are now being told they can handle up to 150, depending on staffing levels.

Hill and other public defenders raised questions about whether the increase in caseloads was directly tied to heroin or increased drug use. Most of those defense attorneys interviewed were of the belief that the DCS’s hiring of more case managers created more cases.

But Bonaventura disputes that.

“It’s quite the contrary,” she told I-Team 8. “We’ve added additional staff because the numbers have risen.The addiction problem is nationwide frankly, not just in Indiana.”The fuzzy numbers 

The difficulty with getting an accurate read on how many of CHINS cases are actually tied to heroin is due in part to confidential nature of the case files. But in interviews with more than a dozen judges, attorneys, DCS employees, addicts and their families, the general consensus did not sway from the fact that opiate drugs are indeed partly to blame.

Making matters more confusing is that Indiana lacks a centralized public defender office. Each county is responsible for tracking its own caseloads which are then submitted to Indiana Public Defender Commission.

According to Derrick Mason, a staff attorney for the commission, some counties were counting both CHINS cases and termination of parent rights cases as one case. That skewed the numbers slightly, Mason said. So in an effort to get a more uniformed result the commission voted in December to start counting termination of parental rights cases and CHINS cases separately.

Termination of parental rights cases are just that – legal cases where the state strips away parental rights from a person.

Termination cases often start off as CHINS cases, Mason pointed out.

I-Team 8 took a closer look at the counties in central Indiana and discovered that termination of parental rights occurred in one out of every five CHINS cases in Marion and the surrounding “doughnut” counties in 2015. In Marion County alone, 763 parents lost their children last year.

At The Children’s Bureau – Indianapolis’ only shelter for children – CEO Tina Cloer said her agency has more than doubled in size in three years, something she equates in part to the struggle with addictions.

“We know from our records that roughly 65 percent of the kids that we get are coming from a home that is affected by addictions,” she said. “It’s traumatic for somebody come and remove you from your home and take you to a place with nobody that you know. So I think we try to be very mindful that the kids are the victims. It’s not their fault that they are in the system.A face of addiction 

As she sat in her Indianapolis apartment holding her infant daughter, a woman named Jamie relived the low points of a years-long battle with heroin.

“I used when I was happy, sad, excited, lonely. It didn’t matter. To learn how to function without the use of drugs was the battle,” Jamie told I-Team 8.

Her battle included living in a hotel for nearly a year. Her boyfriend would burglarize homes to pay the hotel bill.

The rest, she says, they would spend on drugs.

Jamie, who requested that I-Team 8 not reveal her identity, spent time in jail for theft and endured two stints in a court-appointed drug treatment program before she was finally able to get clean.

It was during her treatment that Jamie lost temporary custody of her eldest daughter.

After pleading guilty to a theft and serving four months in jail, Jamie was able to get clean through a court-appointed drug treatment program.

But after suffering a relapse on heroin, Jamie called a court administrator to confess.

“Within a day, DCS was at my house,” she said.

While social workers filed a CHINS case against her, Jamie saw the ordeal as a blessing. It provided her with the opportunity to attend an in-patient treatment facility. She even credits the program with helping her stay clean for nearly two years.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Heroin addiction is a problem with a changing face.

Once, it hit only small pockets of the population. But today, it’s so widespread, those hooked on heroin say no one can believe they’re addicted. From the grittiest urban neighborhoods, to the poshest parts of the suburbs, heroin is now a resident.

“Individuals, regardless of education level, regardless of income level, regardless of status in the community, it affects everybody,” says Tobyn Linton.

Linton is on the front lines of the fight against heroin and other addictions. He is the assistant director of adult services at Fairbanks Hospital, a place where drug addicts and alcoholics come for treatment.

“Celebrities, people of influence, people with money are using heroin, and they’re over dosing and are dying as a result of it,” says Linton.

A 2014 study that surveyed more than 9,000 opioid dependent patients in 150 drug treatment centers and was published in the “Journal of the American Medical Association: Psychiatry” found an explosion of heroin use in areas that were previously not interested in the drug. Fifty years ago the average first-time user was a 16-year-old African American male from the inner city. Today, the study found it’s more likely to be a 23-year-old white woman from the suburbs.

“In fact, we’ve actually seen our women’s inpatient population increase the entire physical year of last year and starting out the first six months of this fiscal year. It’s moving along in those patterns,” says Linton.

And the 2014 study found that 90 percent of people who started using heroin in the past decade are white. Some 75 percent are from non-urban areas.

“I finished my bachelor’s degree in 2013,” says Indianapolis-native Ben Gonzales, a 25-year-old North Central High School and Purdue grad. “I never really wanted for anything. I had everything that I needed. I definitely wasn’t going hungry, that’s for sure. I had every opportunity that I could have asked for.”

Gonzales says growing up, he was about sports and academics. Now, he’s a recovering heroin addict.

“When people ask me, ‘How did you start on that path?’ I tell them, ‘Well, remember the first party you went to when someone had beers or had shots there? I said yes, just like you.’ And the thing is, I didn’t stop saying yes,” he says.

Intravenous use was his preference.

“It’s like your whole entire body is wrapped in a warm blanket. And all your muscles tense up. And then it just releases slowly. And you get a huge rush through your body, too,” Gonzales remembers.

It was an overdose – one of many, he says – that finally got him to realize he couldn’t kick the habit on his own. He was at his parents’ house and only fast action by paramedics using Narcan kept him alive. He says he always thought he could kick the habit without help, but now he believes no one can. He describes detox as grueling.

“Pretty much every minute of the day, not only does your body feel like crap. But your brain, your mind is screaming at you: ‘You need to go get this. What are you doing? You need to go out. You need to go get more (drugs),'” he says.

Gonzales says he’s been clean 18 months. He thinks it’s important for people to know that heroin can get you no matter who you are, where you were raised and how much money you earn.

“I mean this is hitting every single part of our socioeconomic scale. I’ve met people in treatment that were responsible for building this city that we live in. Some of the most successful people in this city,” he says.

Gonzales says he lost everything as a result of his heroin addiction: a good job, a car, his apartment, all his worldly goods. But he says even without any of that, he’s happy now – happy to be clean.

MARION, Ind. (WISH) – Officers with the Marion Police Department have found themselves fighting against heroin laced with fentanyl.

A detective with the department’s drug unit said, “We’re starting to see it on a very regular basis in the heroin we purchase or recover off of the streets.”

Fentanyl is a drug used to treat chronic pain. Hospital emergency rooms typically have the drug in vials, but it also comes in a patch form.

Officials said someone usually mixes the contents of the fentanyl patch with heroin and then sell it on the streets.

Dr. Daniel Rusyniak, medical director for the Indiana Poison Center at IU Health Methodist Hospital, said fentanyl is about 50 times more potent than heroin.

He said, “You’ll see a lot of deaths because it’s a lot more potent and a lot more powerful than heroin and people don’t know that.”

Dr. Rusyniak added, “You can get the high, but the big problem is that it causes respiratory depression. It makes people either slow their respiratory rate down or sometimes stop breathing altogether.”

The Indiana Drug Enforcement Administration said if you think of fentanyl as a box of salt, it only takes two grains for someone to overdose.

“These folks who inject often will be found dead with the needle still in their arm because it works so rapidly,” said Dr. Rusyniak. He added, “Probably the big thing out there for folks who are using heroin on the street is understand that this is always a risk.”

Grant County Coroner Chris Butche said, “[Those who mix the drugs] don’t go by a standard so you don’t know really how strong that purity is going to be.”

Between October 2015 and November 2015, Butche, who’s also an officer with the Marion Police Department, investigated three the deaths of three people, ages 25 – 47, who all died from using heroin laced with fentanyl.

He said, “The first one definitely was instant because the syringe was still stuck in the decedent’s arm.”

Toxicology tests showed one of the three people who died, had seven times the therapeutic level of fentanyl in their system. A second had five times the therapeutic amount.

Butche said, “It’s a nationwide epidemic.” He added, “It’s not being put out there, so to speak, that people are dying from this.”

The American Institute of Toxicology, an Indianapolis-based toxicology testing lab, released the following information regarding tests that have come back positive for heroin and non-prescribed fentanyl:

 Indiana – 2015

Of all the urine specimens AIT tested in 2015 at the request of a healthcare provider in Indiana (typically to determine compliance with a prescribed medication regimen):

 Indiana – 2014

Of all the urine specimens AIT tested in 2014 at the request of a healthcare provider in Indiana (typically to determine compliance with a prescribed medication regimen):

 Nationwide – 2015

Of all the urine specimens AIT tested in 2015 at a healthcare provider’s request (typically to determine compliance with a prescribed medication regimen):

 Nationwide – 2014

Of all the urine specimens AIT tested in 2014 at a healthcare provider’s request (typically to determine compliance with a prescribed medication regimen):

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Heroin addiction is a major problem here in Indiana. But why?

What is it about Heroin that is so addictive? 24-Hour News 8 visited IU Health to find out.

“There are Neurobiological changes in the circuits in the neurons themselves, these are the brain cells,” Dr Andrew Chambers said. “With repeated exposure to these drugs they get in the brain, they begin to rewire circuits that orient your motivation and in essence they create and they install motivations that are pathological.”

For some people it takes only one hit, for others it takes more.

Dr. Chambers said because Heroin is illegal, researchers test opioids; the same substance found in over the counter pain medications.

“There’s really not a lot of difference between heroin addiction and prescription drug addiction when using opiates so they’re very similar actually,” Chambers said.

And that’s where Gloria Osborne of Marion comes in to our story.

‘I had fibromyalgia and I started seeing a doctor, and that’s when my life went to hell,” Osborne said.

On her worst days, she was taking more than 30 pills.

“When you’re on the medicine, you don’t care about anything, nothing,” she said.

Doctors say it’s the same for Heroin addicts. But what is being done to stop this? Not enough according to Chambers.

And he points to elected officials as the reason, because he says funding for research isn’t where it should be.

“It’s not that the government doesn’t completely support treatment, it’s that it’s partial, it’s almost like it’s enough to say they do it, but they’re not interested in funding it,” Chambers said.

But maybe that’s changing. In Governor Pence’s latest budget proposal $30 million would go toward mental health and addiction services.

Chambers says that’s not enough.

“On a Federal level, it’s very, very tiny portion and disproportionately small compared to the amount of illness and death due to addiction,” Chambers said.

And caught in the middle are people like Gloria Osborne.

“I regret the friends that I lost, I regret that my step dad is going through cancer and at the end of the road and he won’t even take a pain pill because he seen what it did to me,” she said.

Osborne was able to beat her addiction, but not everyone is as lucky.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Heroin and criminal activity go hand-in-hand, and it’s a regular battle for police departments across Indiana.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is no exception.

IMPD Chief Troy Riggs joined Daybreak Thursday morning to discuss how the department is working to battle heroin on the streets.

Riggs said beating heroin will require a team effort from the community.

Press play in the video player for the full interview.