(INDIANAPOLIS) - Indiana's drug czar expects a half-dozen new laws targeting opioids will have a real impact on the drug epidemic.
Jim McClelland says making sure people have access to treatment is one of the most important things the state can do to reduce addiction. Legislators authorized nine new treatment centers and faster certification for drug counselors.
McClelland says that will put nearly every Hoosier within an hour's drive of one.But McClelland says not to underestimate the importance of a bill ordering coroners to report what drug is to blame in overdose deaths. He says having better information on which drugs are being abused can help shape more effective prevention strategies. Another new law authorizes harsher penalties when overdose deaths can be traced back to a specific drug dealer.
Other laws require doctors to cross-check a state database of opioid prescriptions before prescribing more, and allow probation officers to administer emergency anti-overdose drugs. McClelland says the state still needs to beef up support for people who have completed rehab and are trying to stay clean.
--WITZ Radio News is an affiliate of Network Indiana News.