STATEHOUSE (Feb. 21, 2017) – The House of Representatives today unanimously passed legislation authored by State Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove) that could broaden mental health and addiction treatment options in Indiana.
According to a recent report, three in 10 new mothers who gave birth at a hospital located in Richmond last year tested positive for illegal drugs. House Bill 1006 would include neonatal abstinence syndrome as a factor for determining if a child is in need of services. According to Kirchhofer, children could receive medication-assisted treatment, which uses a combination of medicine and behavioral therapy to treat addiction.
“Hoosiers are dealing with an opioid epidemic that affects more than just the drug user,” Kirchhofer said. “The number of opioid addicted mothers is of alarming proportions and over 52 percent of children removed from homes is a result of a parent having a substance abuse problem. This plan would be a significant step in the right direction in connecting drug users to the necessary resources to find the path to recovery.”
In addition, the Family and Social Services Administration could certify recovery residences in Indiana to provide quality standards in housing and assistance to chronic addicts.
State Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon), who represents Hendricks County and co-author of the bill, said expanding mental health and addiction treatment to individuals who are charged with misdemeanor offenses is an important part of the state’s effort to reduce recidivism and improve Hoosier lives.
“Indiana is continuing to find new, commonsense solutions for individuals afflicted with these health conditions, and this legislation is another example of our efforts,” Steuerwald said.
In Indiana, the Recovery Works program provides mental health and addiction treatment services to those currently in the criminal justice system or at risk of being incarcerated. Since it began in 2015, the program has served over 6,000 Hoosiers, helping connect them with addiction treatment providers. In order to continue decreasing the number of offenders who return to prison, this bill looks to provide these services in the future to individuals charged with misdemeanor offenses. Kirchhofer said connecting them with Recovery Works services earlier on could prevent more serious offenses from occurring.
House Bill 1006 will now be considered by the Senate.
Rep. Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove) represents House District 89,
which includes portions of Marion County.
A high-resolution photo of Kirchhofer can be downloaded by clicking here.