Indiana’s drug problem is the worst in the nation to date. The state is dealing with high rates of prescription drug and illegal opiate abuse and addiction. This has led to a rise in drug-related injuries, disease, and fatalities. The worst of these are the confirmed cases of HIV and hepatitis over the last two years. Local officials have called it a state of emergency. In an effort to reduce and eventually stop this outbreak the state has installed a variety of programs to combat the growing drug problem in the state. By providing addicts with sanitary supplies the state can drastically reduce the harm of disease and addiction. As recent as last month, the Indiana government is having trouble agreeing with the program.

Needle Exchange Programs

There are a few needle exchange programs in the state of Indiana. The programs often consist of a small, generator-powered trailer with a medical professional running the program. In the trailer, a nurse offers any addict that enters the doorway with a place to properly dispose of their used needles and offers them clean equipment for future drug abuse. They offer syringes, cookers, gauze, cotton pellets, and even tourniquets for those who are willing to enter. While this program may seem counterproductive, it helps direct those in need to services for treatment. What the program does offer, which is not noticed on the surface, is an interaction with a medical professional who recommends various types of treatment options to the addict. The nurses who run these exchanges provide addicts with the options that they have and can offer them various health tests. This type of program has shown, statistically, to work to reduce substance abuse and the spread of related issues. The spread of these viruses is incredibly dangerous and this program can work to reduce those effects.

State Government Conflict

Indiana Attorney General had several questions regarding the new bill that was presented to an Indiana House of Representatives meeting. Under the current law, a county must show a public health emergency and then request permission from the state health department. The new bill in question would eliminate those requirements. The Attorney General questions the program for allowing patients to have an unlimited number of exchanges. He believes that the program should be limited to a point and then the patient must enter treatment. The Governor has stated his support for this new bill because he wants more officials to have access to the safety these types of programs provide. Needle exchanges are highly controversial. They provide tools for addicts to continue to use and abuse illegal drugs. The benefits must outweigh the negatives and statistics prove those benefits. Those who use needle exchange programs are five times more likely to enter drug treatment than those who do not.

Moving Forward

The debate lies in the details of how these programs will continue to run. While there is a disagreement between the Governor and the Attorney General, they have both committed to working together to find an effective solution for the state’s drug problem. As long as local, state, and federal governments continue the discussion (followed by action) the state and others around the country can successfully combat the growing drug problem. The solution to this problem will be discovered through education, debate, and cooperation at all levels of American society. These two government officials commitment to change will help foster positive growth in the battle against addiction and substance abuse.

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