Jim Merritt

U.S. Department of Agriculture / https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/

A Senate committee on Monday approved a bill that would extend Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits — also known as SNAP or food stamps — to former offenders convicted of certain drug-related offenses.

A federal law prohibits former criminals convicted of, for example, trafficking controlled substances, from receiving food stamp benefits. States can choose to do away with the federal ban with a positive legislative vote.

Executive Order Creates New State Drug Director

Jan 10, 2017
Trey Pennington / https://www.flickr.com/photos/treypennington/

Eric Holcomb has signed an executive order creating a position within his office to oversee all state agencies involved with drug prevention and treatment efforts.

Retired Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana CEO Jim McClelland will serve as the new Director for Drug Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement. In that role, he’ll be in charge of overseeing the drug-related efforts of nine Indiana agencies, including the Department of Health, the Professional Licensing Agency and the Family and Social Services Administration.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/anotherpintplease/

The Indiana State Fair sold alcohol for the first time since the 1940s in 2014 – but only at a beer and wine exhibition closed to anyone under 21. And patrons couldn’t carry alcohol out.

The second year, the Fair added sales at concerts in the Coliseum.

This year, alcohol is sold at Free Stage concerts. Representative Ed Clere (R-New Albany) co-sponsored the 2014 bill and says he trusts Fair officials to balance higher revenue with the right atmosphere.

“The balance is making sure that it stays family-friendly," Clere says.

Task Force Considers How Better To Screen New School Staffers

Jul 5, 2016
Justine Warrington / https://www.flickr.com/photos/j_dub_warrington/2103025046

Indiana’s largest teachers’ union says legislators should look at all school staff as they take steps to reduce sexual misconduct in schools.

The legislature created the committee after a recent string of high-profile sexual misconduct cases involving school staff. Indiana State Teacher’s Association President Teresa Meredith says she hopes it will study how predators enter schools.

Jake May / https://www.flickr.com/photos/44114501@N03/

A Colorado drug-enforcement official and anti-legalization advocate is urging the state to say no to making marijuana legal in Indiana.

Thomas Gorman, Director of the Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area program, a federally-supported organization that coordinates drug prevention efforts, outlined his group’s stance that legalization has had a negative impact on public health and safety in Colorado. Gorman gave a presentation before the Governor’s Task Force on Drug Enforcement Treatment and Prevention Tuesday.

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

Legislation to create a permanent Indiana drug task force heads to the House floor after a committee approved the measure Tuesday.  

The bill has support from both parties, but some Democrats want language to ensure diversity on the task force.

Flickr Creative Commons / https://www.flickr.com/photos/intropin/4499124890

The General Assembly this session will look to address the state’s ongoing drug crisis by expanding the Lifeline law and making it easier for people to get their hands on a drug that halts the fatal effects of a drug overdose.  The proposed legislation comes with the backing of Governor Mike Pence and the state’s drug abuse task force.

Kesha Phillips / https://www.flickr.com/photos/wegotkidz/14274377648

Republican State Senators say legislation they’re proposing to put certain cold medicines behind the counter is a balanced solution to help solve Indiana’s meth production problem. 

The bill is an alternative to legislation that would make pseudoephedrine available only through a prescription.

Legislation to make the key meth ingredient pseudoephedrine available only by prescription is endorsed by both the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Association and House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis). 

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Indiana’s synthetic drug law bars the sale of certain compounds and look-alikes, while allowing the pharmacy board to add new compounds to the list of banned substances. 

Two of the first people convicted under the law challenged the statute, claiming it was too vague to be constitutional. 

They also argued the General Assembly couldn’t delegate that much authority to an administrative agency, and the state Court of Appeals agreed.  But the Supreme Court went the other way. 

Indiana Drug Law Not Sure How To Label 'Gravel'

Aug 18, 2015
Chris Wieland / https://www.flickr.com/photos/telekon/6936276638/

Police and prosecutors are keeping a wary eye on Indiana's southern border for the latest variation on synthetic drugs.

Alpha-PVP, more commonly known as Flakka or gravel, has made its biggest impact in Florida, where it's been blamed for 29 deaths in the Fort Lauderdale area. It's been spotted in at least 10 other states, including Illinois and Ohio. There was also widespread use in rural Kentucky, about 100 miles from Lawrenceburg.

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