opioid abuse

Shira Gal / https://www.flickr.com/photos/miss_pupik/

A pilot program enacted by the state legislature has found one in five infants born to at-risk mothers at four Indiana hospitals had opiates in their system at birth.

The program began earlier this year and measures the prevalence of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or NAS. NAS refers to a group of problems that occur in infants after they’re exposed to addictive drugs in the womb. In 2014, Indiana passed a law creating both a task force and a pilot program that would study its prevalence in Indiana.

Governor Tom Wolf / https://www.flickr.com/photos/governortomwolf/

Half-a-dozen nurses from around the state attended a training event this week as part of Community Health Network’s efforts to increase awareness of and access to naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal drug.

The network also plans to hold training sessions for the public at its facilities in central Indiana, Kokomo and Anderson.

Community Health’s Director of Pain Management Kim Sharp says participants will learn about the signs and symptoms of an overdose, as well as free naloxone kits and directions for using them.

whitehouse.gov / http://bit.ly/2agQuSr

A new piece of legislation to address the country’s addiction to opioid painkillers still has a big hurdle to clear before that money comes to Indiana.

Earlier this month the president signed into law the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA, but critics have said the bill is all bark and no bite.

The legislation opens up $181 million for states to fund treatment and education programs and expand access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone, but it still has to be approved separately when Congress convenes later this fall.

Craig Zirpolo

Thanks to new laws lifting restrictions on the availability of naloxone, the overdose-intervention drug is now easier to find than ever before. But the drug’s skyrocketing price means certain public health agencies are having to hustle to keep it on the shelves.

Craig Zirpolo

More than 500 pharmacies and treatment centers across the state can now distribute naloxone without a prescription under a new standing order from the Indiana state department of health.

The barriers to obtaining the overdose intervention drug have been falling throughout the last decade as the number of drug overdoses related to heroin and other opioids has increased statewide.

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.

HCC Public Information Office / https://www.flickr.com/photos/hagerstowncc/

Indiana health officials are endorsing a new set of guidelines for emergency departments prescribing opioids for acute pain.

The Governor’s Task Force on Drug Enforcement, Treatment and Prevention voted Tuesday to help the Indiana State Medical Association and the Indiana Hospital Association — which wrote the guidelines — distribute the information to the state’s emergency rooms.

Guidance includes when an emergency room doctor should prescribe a painkiller, to whom a doctor should give the medicine and how large a prescription is appropriate.

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

Indiana’s battle against drug abuse has is leading the Department of Child Services to remove children from their homes at an increasing rate.

DCS officials reported a 61-percent increase in children being removed from their homes between 2012 and 2016.

Spokesman James Wide says the jump is an unintended consequence of Indiana’s growing opioid painkiller addiction.

Governor Tom Wolf / https://www.flickr.com/photos/governortomwolf/

Six conservation officers in the Indiana Department of Natural Resources have started carrying the overdose-intervention drug naloxone.

The move serves as the latest illustration of the drug’s increasing availability, which blocks the effects of opioids such as heroin, morphine and oxycodone.

Tyler Brock is a conservation officer for the agency’s Law Enforcement District 10, where the officers received training on how to administer the drug.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / www.cdc.gov

Indiana has received about $3.3 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help reduce opioid overdose deaths.

The state says some of the money will be used to upgrade its drug monitoring program, which tracks prescription opioids dispensed across Indiana. The funding will also be used to evaluate and improve how doctors prescribe the drugs.

According to data from a few years ago, Indiana ranks 15th in the country for its overdose rate, and each year, doctors write more opioid prescriptions than there are people in the state.

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