drugs

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

WBAA News has spent a fair amount of time in Crawfordsville during the past couple months, with an increasing amount of that focused on the debate in the city about subsidized housing.

Recently, Mayor Todd Barton got inspectors from the department of Housing and Urban Development to come look at some rental units that had been okayed by the Crawfordsville Housing Authority. The federal official found some to be substandard, which could them to be removed from the rolls of those eligible for federal money.

On this edition of WBAA’s Ask The Mayor, we talk to Mayor Barton about whom that hurts more – the landlords he says he’s trying to target, or the low-income renters who may be having a hard time finding a suitable replacement in their price range.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Indiana lawmakers want to create a new crime to dramatically increase penalties for drug dealers if the buyer overdoses and dies.

Under current law, if you give a friend a small amount of Adderall or Ritalin and they overdose and die, you could get up to two and a half years in prison. If proposed legislation passes, you could get up to 40 years.

Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council executive director David Powell says the bill sends a message to drug dealers, even if it will rarely be used.

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski has been among the chorus of voices saying his city can’t, as the saying goes, “arrest its way out of a drug problem.”

But now that the Indiana General Assembly has made Tippecanoe County a pilot site for a new opioid treatment program, will the mayor be more bullish on that as a solution than he has been on the idea of a needle exchange? We put that question to him this week on WBAA’s Ask The Mayor.

City of Frankfort

Frankfort Police spent a lot of extra effort interdicting drugs and cracking down on suspected drunk drivers in 2016.

It’s resulted in nearly 50-percent more DUI citations and a rise in drug arrests as well.

So is this the tip of the iceberg or do these numbers represent the start of a solution that gets at the core of both problems?

Jim Grey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mobilene/

Indiana’s Commission on Improving the Status of Children wants to refocus its efforts on improving child welfare by developing a new strategic plan. 

The Commission on Improving the Status of Children was formed by the General Assembly in 2013 and received a progress report from a national child welfare consultant group.

Consultant Holly Merz says the commission has made great strides in relationship-building in a child welfare system that’s spread in some cases across a dozen different agencies.

Indiana House GOP

Governor Mike Pence has acted on eight recommendations from the first two meetings of the drug abuse task force, drawing praise from state and federal officials.  However, half of those actions largely rehash initiatives already in place.

Some of the directives Pence has issued include crafting substance abuse curriculum for children, developing guidelines for doctors prescribing acute pain medication and spreading successful youth assistance programs statewide. 

Eric Molina / https://www.flickr.com/photos/iamagenious/

Governor Mike Pence’s Drug Abuse Task Force is scheduled for only three meetings, with some questioning whether much can be accomplished in such a short period.  Task force co-chair John Hill says the three meetings might just be the beginning.

The first task force meeting took place in Indianapolis earlier this month; the other two will take place in Evansville and South Bend.  Hill says he wants the group to address some of the most pressing issues in those meetings and provide recommendations for legislative action next session:

Almond Dhukka / https://www.flickr.com/photos/almondbutterscotch/

Legislation Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) authored – and a companion bill sponsored by Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-5th) – would create a federal task force to combat drug abuse. 

Brooks says it would marshal the efforts of several federal agencies to help identify best practices -- including ways to reduce the over-prescribing of medication.

“80-percent of the heroin users in the country start out as prescription drug users,” Brooks says.

Indiana is one of only 13 states that prescribes more than 100 painkiller prescriptions per every hundred citizens. 

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Just one year after Indiana’s comprehensive criminal code overhaul took effect, the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council wants to increase drug dealing penalties. 

Indiana’s criminal code reform, which took five years to craft, was aimed largely at reducing penalties for low-level, nonviolent drug offenses in an effort to focus more on treatment and reduce recidivism. 

But a year into that reform, Prosecuting Attorneys Council head David Powell says he wants to add more teeth to the state’s drug dealing sentences.

City of Frankfort

Though the effect on the Greater Lafayette area has gotten more press, the closure of I-65 north has touched Frankfort as well.

This week on Ask the Mayor, we find out from Chris McBarnes what it’s meant to businesses and to commuters that his interstate exit is getting less traffic and that the prescribed detour leads people in the other direction when they turn onto State Road 28.

We also chat about drugs in Frankfort. What can a recent bust of four alleged drug dealers tell us about how much of a problem the city faces?

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