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Opioid Overdose in Indiana

Graphic showing the amount of money opioid use has cost Indiana in the past 15 years

Thousands of Hoosiers have died as a result of the Indiana opioid epidemic. While the federal government works to stabilize the situation, the local government has launched its own steps to address the problem.

Indiana is one of the states on the front lines of the country’s current opioid crisis, which results in the death of tens of thousands of Americans each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Indiana had 2,272 drug overdose deaths in 2020, a 33 percent increase from 2019. These are often people who did not have access to naloxone in time.

Three Waves of the Indiana Opioid Epidemic

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) points out three waves that have led to the opioid epidemic in the state of Indiana.

Wave One

The first wave of the Indiana opioid crisis began in 2002, with an increase in opioid prescriptions and overdose deaths from prescribed opioids. The rise of prescription pills in Indiana matched the rise across the nation.

While prescription medications may not always imply issues, they are often misused or abused, leaving many Indiana residents with the consequences of not following prescription instructions, such as addiction and overdoses.

Wave Two

A surge in heroin overdose deaths fueled the second wave of Indiana’s opioid crisis. This second stage emerged in the late 2000s when some people could not access legal medications for their addictions and instead turned to heroin, a cheaper alternative to the pills they had been accustomed to.

While heroin drug submission cases peaked in 2015 and declined marginally, Indiana is not out of the woods. Since then, a new, more lethal drug has taken root.

Wave Three

The third and most catastrophic wave of the opioid crisis began in 2014, marked by a sharp increase in synthetic opioid overdose deaths. This third wave was most likely driven by illegally made fentanyl and fentanyl derivatives, which are cheaper and more potent than heroin. During the third wave, the Indiana State Police saw a rise in narcotics case submissions for fentanyl.

The third wave of the Indiana opioid crisis continues to evolve and rage on. The fentanyl market is changing in Indiana and throughout the country. Fentanyl and its analogs have lately been found in combination with heroin, cocaine, and counterfeit medications. Unfortunately, this leads to increased overdose deaths as many users are unaware of the drugs they are ingesting.

Street Drug Use Has Skyrocketed in Indiana

As doctors have taken steps to limit the number of opioids they prescribe, the usage of illicit alternatives to prevent withdrawal has increased. Overdoes are far more likely with heroin and fentanyl than with prescribed medications. Illegal substances increase the rates of infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C and HIV.

Proper Treatment is Lacking in Indiana

Hoosiers seeking to quit using drugs face physical withdrawal symptoms and limited access to effective treatment in the state, notably medication-assisted treatment (MAT), the evidence-based standard for opioid treatment. Treatment is either expensive or far from home. There is no addiction treatment in some sections of the state.

Stigma Attached with Addiction

Even when Hoosiers are willing to seek help, they often encounter societal barriers. The stigma associated with the terms “addiction” and “addict” is vital. Addiction is usually viewed as a choice rather than a chronic condition. Opinions of other people that addiction is a choice rather than a disease might discourage people suffering from addiction from getting help.

These societal barriers are often worsened by the incarceration cycle. Addicts in the criminal justice system need help the most, but they are rarely treated. Approximately 90 percent of convicts in the United States do not get addiction treatment services, and three-quarters of those imprisoned for a drug-related violation are jailed for a new crime within five years after release.

Prisoners are also 129 times more likely than the general population to die from a drug overdose two weeks after release. Because their addiction has not been appropriately addressed, Hoosiers who have been released from jail are prone to relapse. However, after a time of not consuming drugs while incarcerated, tolerance is reduced, and the danger of overdosing increases.

Serious Economic Impact

Opioid use has cost Indiana more than $43 billion in direct and indirect expenditures over the last 15 years. In 2017, the total amount of the money was $4.3 billion, or approximately $11 million daily. Non-lethal opioid overdoses cost more than $224 million in hospitalization charges alone in 2016, with another $297 million spent on other opioid-related hospital stays. Every day, the addiction issue steals a reasonable sum of money from Hoosiers.

Children are Also at Higher Risk in Indiana

The opioid crisis not only kills Hoosiers and costs the state billions of dollars but also harms future generations of Hoosiers. Almost one in every ten young people aged 18 to 25 reported nonmedical usage of prescription pain medicines in the previous year. One in every 20 teens reported misusing prescription pain relievers in the past year.

Indiana also has one of the highest rates of children being removed from their families due to drug usage in the family. More than half of all cases of children removed from their homes by the Indiana Department of Child Services in 2016 were due to a parent’s drug or alcohol usage, which has increased by more than half since 2013. Children with an addicted family member are four times more likely to take drugs or alcohol.

Researchers recently reported that rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and maternal opioid use nearly five-fold increased in the US between 2000 and 2012, with rural areas experiencing disproportionately more significant increases. An increasing number of babies are being born with diseases that will have long-term consequences.

Helpful Resources

Indiana Next Level Recovery

Indiana Next Level Recovery is an online portal to all of the state’s opioid-related resources. It provides information for healthcare professionals, emergency workers, law enforcement, community leaders, and families affected by substance abuse.

http://www.in.gov/recovery

SAMHSA’s Evidence-Based Practice Resource Center (EBPRC)

The SAMHSA Evidence-Based Practice Resource Center (EBPRC) contains a wide range of downloadable resources about opioid overdose and other mental health and substance use topics. EBPRC also provides essential information and tools to help communities, clinicians, policymakers, and others incorporate evidence-based practices into their communities or clinical settings.

https://www.samhsa.gov/resource-search/ebp

Indiana Problem-Solving Court Directory

Indiana Problem-Solving Court Directory contains information on all problem-solving courts in Indiana, including local family drug treatment courts.

www.in.gov/judiciary/pscourts/ files/pscourts-psc-directory.pdf

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) provides valuable resources for those in need of drug abuse treatment and their families. Information includes links to data sheets, how to find professional help for kids and adults, questions to ask while seeking treatment, and current research in the field. Look for the sections dedicated to Patients and Families, Parents and Educators, and Children and Teens.

https://nida.nih.gov/

Centers for Disease Control (CDC)

The CDC opioid overdose prevention website is an excellent resource for individuals and healthcare practitioners. The website covers many types of opioids, including prescription opioids, fentanyl, and heroin. The site also includes CDC opioid prescribing guidelines, publications, and online training.

https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/prevention/index.html

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT)

The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment comes with the mission to promote community-based substance abuse treatment and recovery services for people and families across the community. CSAT is a national leader in improving access, reducing barriers, and promoting high-quality, effective treatment and recovery services.

https://www.samhsa.gov/about-us/who-we-are/offices-centers/csat

Alateen and Narateen

Alateen and Narateen are treatment programs for children affected by an adult’s addiction. Members of the group meet in a private environment to share experiences, provide support, and develop effective problem-solving strategies.

www.al-anon.org/for-alateen

Al-Anon and Nar-Anon

Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are support groups for individuals who the addiction of someone else has impacted. These groups might be helpful to the partners of addicts.

www.alanon.org/

Court Appointment Special Advocates

Court Appointment Special Advocates provide volunteer opportunities for individuals to stand out for children’s best interests while navigating the court system.

www.casaforchildren.org  

Opioid Treatment Centers

Opioid Treatment Centers assist people suffering from addiction. Indiana Family and Social Services provide a list of opioid treatment programs in the state.

https://www.in.gov/fssa/dmha/files/OTP_Treatment_ Centers_-_1-2012.pdf

Systems of Care

Systems of Care is a community-based concept for developing comprehensive behavioral and mental health care systems for adolescents and families. A list of local systems of care coordinators is available for many counties of Indiana.

https://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/student-services/ local-soc-subcommittee-members31417-jw.pdf

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many people overdose in Indiana?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a provisional report in 2021 on overdose fatalities in the United States. In Indiana, for the second year in a row, the number of opioid overdoses has reached a new high: an estimated 2,755 Hoosiers died from drug overdoses.

The estimated 2,755 deaths are a 21 percent increase from 2020, when lockdowns and the coronavirus epidemic drove Indiana overdose deaths to a then-record high of 2,272. Before 2020, the record high was 1,835, recorded in 2017.

Is it illegal to have Narcan in Indiana?

Aaron’s Law is an Indiana law that permits Hoosiers to get a Narcan prescription if they fear someone they know is at risk of an opioid overdose. Before this Law, only emergency personnel were allowed to carry Narcan.

Narcan (Naloxone) is a medication intended to counteract the effects of opioids and can be given to someone experiencing overdose symptoms. When injected, it starts working within five minutes, “wakes up” the person, and gives them 30 to 60 minutes to seek medical assistance.

Because of Aaron’s Law, Narcan is now available to on-site medical professionals, school nurses, supervisors, and anyone responsible for someone at risk of overdoes.

What is considered an accidental overdose?

An overdose occurs when someone takes too much medication. Many Americans are dying as a result of medication overdoses than ever before. Taking medicine in higher doses can be very dangerous, even fatal, but unintentional overdoses can be avoided.

An unintentional overdose can occur if:

  • you take too much medicine by mistake
  • you use the wrong medication by mistake
  • you combine medicine together with substances that cause a harmful reaction upon the combination

Overcome Opioid Addiction with Indiana Center for Recovery

Opioid use disorder is one of the scariest substance use disorders out there since opioid addiction stems from various drugs that the government legally approves. For decades, our country has been burdened by dangerous synthetics and legal opioids, and millions of Americans have suffered from opioid addiction. However, you can overcome opioid addiction by taking the proper steps.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with opioid addiction, contact Indiana Center for Recovery immediately. Our team of experienced counselors and healthcare professionals will help you through the difficult path of opioid withdrawal and detox and guide you along the rocky road of rehab. 

We are here to help you if you want to know more about our inpatient treatment program, outpatient treatment program, supervised detox program, and behavioral therapy sessions, or if you wish to enroll in one of these programs. Contact us at (844) 650-0064.