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Drug Addiction in Indianapolis

Indianapolis is the state capital of Indiana, boasting a population of over 800,000 people. Known for its mid-western charm, many locals and tourists enjoy the city’s museums, parks, performing arts, and excitement of the Indianapolis 500. Like any other sizable city in the U.S., Indianapolis also feels a heavy impact from the effects of addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Addiction in Indiana

  • 56,000 residents of Indiana have utilized opioid treatment programs
  • Males account for almost two-thirds of overdose deaths
  • The majority of overdose deaths occur to those ages 18-60
  • Overdose deaths happen within all races, but the Black community has shown a spike in the number of them
  • 1.6 million residents can take advantage of addiction treatment through Medicaid
  • The state has nine counties with active syringe service programs and 13 counties with harm reduction programs. 
  • The state has 130 certified recovery residential programs

Both urban and rural communities across Indiana find themselves impacted by drug overdoses. Three urban counties have shown dramatically high numbers over the past years: Wayne, Fayette, and Scott counties. Rural areas often have little access to treatment services and social support services, which can contribute to the number of overdoses.

A recent report shows that drug overdose deaths in Indiana have increased for nearly two decades. Since 1999, more than 15,000 residents have died from an overdose. In 2018, the drug overdose rate jumped a whopping 22%, putting it higher than the national average. During that time frame, Indiana claimed the third-highest overdose rate in the country. And in 2020, 93,000 people died from drug overdoses, the most ever in a single year.


Opioid Abuse Takes a Huge Toll in Indiana

Sixty-three percent of overdoses in Indiana involved opioids. The past two decades have shown several waves of the overwhelming opioid epidemic, including overdoses from prescription and synthetic opioids, as well as heroin. In 2020, Indiana begin a program to fund nearly $1 million of naloxone, a medication that helps reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Naloxone is a nasal spray carried by first responders, people with opioid addiction, and their loved ones. It can be used in case of an overdose in order to medically revive the person while awaiting professional help or getting them to a hospital. The use of naloxone has helped reduce the number of opioid-related overdoses nationwide. Non-opioid drug overdoses also take their toll across the state. Recently, a dramatic rise in overdoses occurred with the following narcotics:
  • Benzodiazepines: 48%
  • Cocaine: 111%
  • Psychostimulants: 138%

How Addiction Impacts the Legal System

Across the country, approximately 90% of prison inmates do not receive any addiction treatment services. Of those arrested for a drug-related crime, about 75% of them are arrested again within five years. These prisoners are at risk of dying from a drug overdose within two weeks of their release from prison at a rate of up to 129 times higher than other inmates. 

The time spent in prison and not using drugs can contribute to a lowered tolerance level for these individuals, making an overdose after release more likely. When an addiction already in play is not addressed during incarceration, these inmates show a high likelihood of going right back to using drugs when they are released.

INSPECT Program Helps Reduce Drug Abuse

In 2017, Governor Holcomb of Indiana signed into law something called INSPECT, which is a prescription drug monitoring program. This requires medical professionals to check the INSPECT list before prescribing opioids or benzodiazepines to patients. 

This law provides a way for prescribers to determine if a patient has already received potentially dangerous prescriptions and be able to warn them about any possible dangerous drug interactions. INSPECT also cuts down on the amount of doctor shopping, which can help lower the number of addictions that develop or continue. 

Doctor shopping is the act of visiting several different doctors, often with bogus symptoms, in order to receive multiple prescriptions for drugs like opioids and benzodiazepines. People addicted to these types of medications need large amounts of them to achieve the effects they want. Making doctor shopping trackable takes that option away from many.

What To Do If You are Struggling with Addiction

Indiana University reports that nearly one out of twelve Hoosiers has a substance use disorder, which translates to almost half a million people. More Indiana residents die from drug overdoses than car crashes. When a substance use disorder impacts a person’s life, they often don’t know what to do first in order to find help. 

Experiencing an addiction over time means that the body has built up toxins from the drug and alcohol use, making visiting a detoxification program a first step to becoming sober. After completing detox, many people enter a residential program, which provides a place to live with other individuals also in recovery. Residential programs typically offer various types of therapy, including individual and group, often rounded out by holistic and medication-assisted treatment.  

Many residential and sober living houses offer gender-specific housing for their clients. People often find this option helps them better concentrate on their recoveries and bond with fellow residents. 

While people looking for treatment options often initially want to stay in town or in nearby cities, often programs that require travel provide better benefits. Receiving treatment out of state can really help a person leave behind their day-to-day issues and focus solely on learning how to stay sober. Many graduates of residential treatment point out that putting distance between themselves and their toxic home life situations and relationships provided a much-needed safety net that kept them on target with their recovery goals.

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