We know this much. The “Just Say No” campaign against drug abuse launched more than 32 years ago, didn’t do enough. The drug crisis in America is as bad as it’s ever been.
In Indiana’s 6th District, in the state of Indiana and across the nation, drug abuse is at epidemic levels. About 100 Hoosiers are dying every month from drug overdoses, mostly because of opioids, heroin and prescription painkillers.
Indiana has the 17th-highest rate of overdose deaths in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, yet it is one of the hardest places to find treatment.
Gov. Eric Holcomb last year appointed the state’s first executive director for drug prevention, treatment and enforcement. In 2017, the president declared it a national emergency.
I doubt there is a family in the 6th District not touched in some way by drug addiction. In Delaware County, a Community Drug Task Force is made up of health care professionals, representatives from law enforcement, the courts, the clergy, business and industry, manufacturing and the media. It’s a group of highly engaged citizens, working together, to find steps that make tangible differences.
President Trump and Congress are poised to lead this national conversation.
The nation must consider all possibilities. Congress needs to make more options – more financing available to states. There will be no single answer. The nation is wrestling now over questions of whether to open additional treatment centers in key community locations or putting peer recovery support specialists in high-risk areas across the country.
Indiana is looking to ideas like:
- Mobile addiction treatment teams
- Education and prevention support, especially for children and youth
- More support for faith-based groups
It’s a massive problem. Authorities say 75 percent of those addicted to heroin, started on opioids. We must be committed to reverse trends and start reduction in substance abuse. Children are the silent victims of the opioid crisis. For example, opiate abuse has fueled an 8 percent growth in the nationwide foster system since 2012, reversing earlier progress.
In Indiana, substance abuse and other factors are ballooning the foster population by double-digit numbers, putting a significant strain on the court and child welfare systems. We all must raise awareness of the dangers of substance abuse and educate families on how to make healthy choices.
This is a crisis of family and country.
Jonathan Lamb is seeking the Republican nomination for Congress in Indiana’s 6th District. He grew up in Yorktown, lives in Muncie and has been an entrepreneur, owning businesses from agricultural technology to franchised childcare centers. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Miller College of Business at Ball State University and an MBA from North Carolina State University. He is author of “Economics is Like Sex: Common Sense Thinking for Better Decisions Through the Taboo Topics of Money, Budgets, Market and Trade.”FacebookTwitterGoogle +