In his January 9, 2018 “State of the State” speech given January 9, 2018, Governor Eric Holcomb of Indiana stressed that it is very important for not only for Indiana but for the country to address the opioid epidemic.
He commented on some of the efforts underway and the project to deal with the opioid epidemic is going even faster than the state anticipated. One effort is working to integrate the technology needed to help physicians across the state deal with and use the prescription drug monitoring system known as INSPECT.
In September 2017, just one hospital was using the INSPECT system but now more than half of the hospitals on board will be using the technology this year.
The Governor also pointed out that the state is rapidly moving forward in other ways to curb opioids:
- The state now requires Indiana physicians to use INSPECT before issuing an opioid prescription
- The state is working to increase the number of opioid treatment locations from 18-27 so that nearly everyone will be less than an hour’s drive to treatment
- The state is working to improve reporting drug overdose deaths, so the scale of the problem will be known and then more funding might be available to treat more citizens
- Enforcement efforts are going to be strengthened and if anyone deals or manufactures illegal drugs that results in someone’s death, that person will be charged with a felony
The Governor also reports, that the State is awaiting federal approval of their affordable “Healthy Indiana Plan” (HIP) extension. More than 400,000 state residents are covered by the plan. Now the state wants to take HIP to the next level and expand services to help people affected by the drug epidemic and also help eligible members transition to meaningful employment.
As the Governor reports, “Despite focused efforts, Indiana’s infant mortality rate is unacceptable, The state regularly ranks among the worst states in the nation for infant mortality which lags behind the national average.. Steps will be taken this year to implement a “Levels of Care” program to assure that the highest risk babies are delivered at hospitals with facilities to adequately meet the needs of the mothers and their babies.