The opioid epidemic is Jared’s top priority. As a public health researcher who has spent years working in HIV prevention and health systems, he believes that we must meet people and communities where they are. He believes that people who use drugs are the primary agents of their own change and that local solutions must be properly supported by State and local government resources. At the Statehouse, he will work with Republicans and Democrats alike to solve this complex issue.
Ensure INSPECT Compliance Among Medical Practitioners
- Ensure that every hospital, clinic, and dentist office in Indiana properly complies with INSPECT reporting requirements to ensure that people are not abusing the healthcare system to get access to opioids.
Medication Assisted Treatment
- Ensure that drug courts permit medication-assisted treatment, including both evidence-based agonists and antagonists, in addition, to support groups and counseling. When it comes to treating addiction, a one-size-fits-all approach is ineffective and not person-centered; therefore, a full range of evidence-based treatment options should be permitted. Addiction is a chronic disease and should be approached the way we try to approach other chronic diseases – through a person-centered lens. Drug court participants must own their recovery but also be supported in a program that fits their needs.
Establish & Implement Diversion Programs for Drug Offenders
- Require drug court and prison diversion programs to publicly publish their program rules (including eligibility, types of treatments permitted, costs to participants), an overview of the court treatment team decision-making process and treatment team member backgrounds. Ensure fair housing policies for people convicted of felonies for substance use. In Lawrence County, many people who have felonies for possession cannot find housing because they have a felony.
Medical Marijuana for Chronic Pain Management
- Medicinal marijuana can be a viable alternative to opioids for chronic pain, neuropathic pain, and spasticity issues due to multiple sclerosis. Rather than using opioids, which are intended for short-term acute pain, medical marijuana must be seen as a viable and more effective solution than opioids for pain management.
Increase Public Health Spending
- We cannot arrest our way out of the opioid epidemic. Indiana currently ranks 49th in public health spending. We must increase funding for the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and also ensure that local health departments are properly staffed and provided the resources to meet the needs of their communities.
Treatment on Demand
- Enact a “treatment on demand” program, where people can self-report their addictions to first responders without fear of arrest and enter a treatment program within 24 hours.
- Expand access to voluntary treatment programs. We need more inpatient treatment programs in Indiana. Many people who want to seek treatment go on waitlists as long as 6 months. Often, people on waitlists end up in jail.
Enact Drug Takeback Programs in Every County
- In coordination with law enforcement, enact pro-active drug takeback programs to reduce the prevalence of unused and expired medications that could be misused. Unused prescription drugs are a primary gateway to people developing opiate addictions.
Equipping All Indiana First Responders With Narcan
- Ensure that every first responder in Indiana has Narcan readily available and accessible at all times and that they are trained on how to properly respond to an overdose.
“Ban the Box”
- Many people suffering from addiction end up in our criminal justice system. Possession of a syringe is a Level 6 felony. After drug offenders are released from prison, they face immense hurdles such as access to housing and earning a job. We must “ban the box” that requires felons to report their crimes to potential landlords and employers.
Improve Employer Knowledge and Access to the Hoosier Initiative for Re-Entry (HIRE) Program
- The Indiana Department of Workforce Development has a program for people who have been convicted of drug crimes called Hoosier Initiative for Re-Entry (HIRE). Unfortunately, many employers and chambers of commerce are unaware of this program. The Department of Workforce Development should have a budget to perform outreach to notify employers of this program and encourage that employers use it to hire people who have gone through recovery programs that are prepared to re-enter the workforce.
“Housing is Healthcare, Healthcare is Housing”
- Fund public programs and create grant programs for transitional housing for people in recovery and people with a history of mental illness and addiction. Housing is absolutely necessary for access to healthcare.
Effectively Educate Children on Substance Use
- Improve educational opportunities for K-12 students and educators about evidence-based drug and alcohol prevention methods, and evidence-based treatments for adolescents with substance use disorders. This will mean diverting public funding away from programs that do not use evidence-based practices such as Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) and funding programs that have been proven to be effective through independent research and evaluation. Tax dollars must not be wasted on programs that simply have no public benefit.
Make PrEP Available to Everyone at Risk of HIV
- Make Indiana private insurance providers and the Health Indiana Plan 2.0 (HIP 2.0) carry post-exposure prophylaxis for people who have been exposed to HIV.
911 Amnesty Law
- In Indiana, if you are on parole, probation, or have a warrant out for your arrest you will be arrested if you call 911 and stay with your friend or family member who is overdosing. We must pass a 911 Amnesty Law so that people who use drugs will call 911 without fear of arrest in the event a friend or a family member has an overdose.
Increase Capacity for Harm Reduction as a Method of Prevention
- Harm reduction efforts cannot work in a vacuum, but they are cost-effective measures at reducing overdose deaths and providing the resources people who use injections drugs to prevent becoming infected with HIV and Hepatitis C. While many counties across Indiana have successful syringe services programs such as Gateway to Hope in Tippecanoe County and Indiana Recovery Alliance in Monroe County, others vulnerable to devastating and economically crippling disease epidemics do not see them as a viable solution due to the view that they “enable” drug users and county commissioner boards are the ultimate authority rather than local health boards as they do in Ohio.
- People living in rural communities who test positive for HIV tend to be diagnosed at an advanced stage. We must expand disease prevention initiatives in Indiana, particularly after the HIV outbreak in Scott County.
- Research from the Centers for Disease Control shows that people who are clients of syringe services programs are five times more likely to seek treatment and that they reduce the number of used needles found in public places. It costs $450,000 to treat someone for HIV and $94,500 to cure Hepatitis C using a 12-week regimen. It costs $20 per person to provide them the equipment people who use injection drugs the supplies and education they need to engage in safe drug use behaviors.
Want to see a calendar of recovery community events in Lawrence County? Visit the Lawrence County Recovery Calendar here. It was made by Jared.