The opioid epidemic involving the illegal use of prescription painkillers and heroin is affecting our families and communities throughout Indiana. In 2016, more than 1,500 Hoosiers died from a drug overdose. We must attack this epidemic on all fronts to help save lives and protect Hoosiers.
One way House Republicans are addressing this issue is by focusing on the recovery process for individuals suffering from addiction. House Bill 1007 would expand the number of opioid treatment centers in Indiana from 18 to 27 in key locations. Expanding the number of treatment centers makes them more accessible to Hoosiers struggling with addiction and gives individuals more resources for a successful recovery.
Under this proposal, nine certified mental health centers or general acute care hospitals could apply to operate new opioid treatment programs. This bill would also provide provisional credentialing to Hoosier mental health professionals who are qualified to expedite the hiring process for addiction treatment providers.
House Republicans are also addressing the problem at the source. Currently, there is no added penalty for drug dealing resulting in death. House Bill 1359 would hold dealers responsible for not only manufacturing controlled substances, but also increase the penalty when the use of the drug results in death. This bill will keep offenders who are dealing controlled substances and killing Hoosiers off the streets for longer periods of time, making this penalty crucial to combating the epidemic.
Continuing to take steps to fight illegal and deadly drug use will make Indiana a healthier, safer state for all Hoosiers. I thank you for your continued support as we work to provide more treatment options for Hoosiers struggling with addiction and keep deadly drugs off the street.