Outgoing Attorney General says state has fallen short in battle against opioid addiction

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - In an interview with Fox 59, Indiana's outgoing Attorney General Greg Zoeller said the state hasn't done enough in the fight against the growing drug epidemic.

“Unfortunately, I think the problem is really going to overwhelm everything that we put in place," Zoeller said. "And I can almost predict mathematically that we are going to have higher rates of overdoses."

Zoeller explained the rise in popularity of deadly synthetic drugs like fentanyl will cause additional problems for Hoosiers in 2017.

“Unfortunately, it’s much more deadly so the use of naloxone is going to increase and unfortunately I think we’re going to see a lot more overdose deaths," he said.

Zoeller said in the short term, lawmakers need to get naloxone in the hands of more Hoosiers.

"They really need to continue to fund the naloxone that goes out to the law enforcement and first responders," Zoeller said. “And then in the long term we are going to need to focus on treatment and recovery. Those are difficult addictions to treat and to recover from so they are going to have spend a lot of time and effort focusing on that issue."

Just this week, Governor Elect Eric Holcomb announced attacking the drug epidemic will be one of his top priorities this legislative session.

“This is something I’m just passionate about. If I only had one wish left it would be that we could change the trajectory," Holcomb said.

Holcomb said he wants to put limits on the number of pills people can buy, potentially expand syringe exchanges and create harsher penalties for anyone who robs a pharmacy.

"We know that this is just the tip of the iceberg," Holcomb said. "We know it goes much, much deeper below the surface affecting our families all over the state of Indiana."

Lawmakers are proposing a number of bills targeting drug users as well as to help first responders.