New tactic to treat substance abuse

Posted by: Jessica Baker  | Thursday, January 22, 2015

Over the last few years, we have seen an increase of individuals abusing opioids, which are medications to relieve pain like morphine or hydrocodone. More often, habitual opioid users, who are struggling with addition and need help, are ending up in the judicial system, which costs time, money and energy.

What typically happens is that some of the individuals that end up in the courts and are released, return shortly after with the same drug abuse related charges. It is apparent that something needs to be done to address this issue and help those struggling with opioid abuse, get the help they need.

That is why I authored House Bill (HB) 1195 this session. This legislation, which has been assigned to the Courts and Criminal Code Committee, would provide addictions counseling, impatient detoxification or Vivitrol as a possible condition of parole, probation, community corrections pretrial diversion or part of a problem-solving court.

Vivitrol, according to their website, is a prescription injectable medicine which is used to treat alcohol and opioid dependence. It is a once a month injection which targets the endorphins that are associated with opioid or alcohol use. In contrast with the drug, Methadone, this is a non-addictive method that does not cause a withdrawal if stopped. It also cannot be sold on the streets like Methadone since it stops the desire to use opioids or alcohol.

By offering this as an option, those addicted to alcohol and opioids that end up in the courts would be able to get the help they need, working to prevent them from ending back up in the system. Under HB 1195, the courts would have more tools at their disposal to help individuals live a life free from drug and alcohol addiction.

Regrettably, drug abuse continues to be a problem impacting our nation, and the Hoosier state is no different. My hope is to create a way for those struggling with addition to find safe and secure harbor to get the treatment they need, so they can go on to live a successful, healthy life.

I also would like to encourage anyone who currently is struggling with addiction to utilize the resources we have in Indiana. Here are a few website that provide rehab options in our state:

As I stated above, HB 1195 has been assigned to the Courts and Criminal Code Committee, and if it receives a hearing, I look forward to listening to feedback from my colleagues on possible ways to improve this bill.

I will continue to keep you updated on this bill as it moves through the legislative process and will keep you informed on the activity at the Statehouse. If you are interested in learning more about this bill or any other pieces of legislation, please visit www.iga.in.gov.

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Rep. McNamara (R-Mount Vernon) represents portions of Posey and Vanderburgh counties. She serves as the Vice Chair of Courts and Criminal Code Committee and is a member of Government and Regulatory Reform Committee, Judiciary Committee and the Select Committee on Government Reduction Committee.