Rep. Kirchhofer: Combating drug abuse in our community

Posted by: Emily Gaylord  | Tuesday, April 5, 2016

This legislative session the Indiana General Assembly worked to address the growing drug problem in our state, including the abuse of prescription drugs by non-prescribed users. Recently, Gov. Mike Pence visited Hope Academy in Indianapolis where he ceremonially signed into law a number of bills aimed at fighting drug abuse in Indiana.

Hope Academy is a tuition-free, public charter high school for students in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. This highly supportive, individualized school allows students to progress in recovery and academics at their pace, while working toward a better life through sobriety. When attending the ceremonial bill signings, I witnessed firsthand how the school can make a positive impact on students.

While Hope Academy does their part in the community to combat drug abuse, the General Assembly also worked on a plan this session to fight Indiana’s drug crisis. I sponsored Senate Enrolled Act (SEA) 187, which could help reduce fatal drug overdoses by permitting pharmacies to sell overdose intervention drugs, like Narcan, over-the-counter without a prescription. Narcan is a safe, non-addictive medication that reverses the effects of drug overdoses. Making medicine like Narcan readily available can save lives in the event of an overdose of heroin or prescription pain medicine.

Another piece of legislation signed into law was SEA 297, which requires Medicaid coverage for inpatient detoxification for the treatment of opioid or alcohol dependence. SEA 297 is a product of the Attorney General’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force and will provide an evidence-based comprehensive approach to opioid treatment through clinical practice guidelines for office-based treatment and opioid treatment providers.

By working together and supporting innovative programs and services provided by places like Hope Academy, we can overcome Indiana’s drug problem. Please contact me by phone at (317)232-9793 or by email at h89@iga.in.gov with input and ideas to address drug abuse in our communities.

Visit www.hopeacademyrhs.org to learn more about Hope Academy.

-30-

Rep. Kirchhofer (R-Beech Grove) represents portions of Marion County.