Gov. Holcomb, officials announce 5 new opioid treatment centers

GREENWOOD, Ind. – Gov. Eric Holcomb joined several other officials in announcing new opioid treatment centers to combat the state’s growing drug epidemic.

The five centers will be located in the following counties to help in what Holcomb referred to as “underserved areas”:

  • Allen (Bowen Center)
  • Johnson (Valle Vista)
  • Monroe (Sycamore Springs)
  • Tippecanoe (Sycamore Springs)
  • Vigo (Hamilton Center)

The five sites were strategically selected so that they’re based in or near counties where use of naloxone, the life-saving drug that can reverse the effects of an overdose, is high.

Dr. Jennifer Walthall with the Family and Social Services Administration said Medicaid will pay for all opioid treatment for the first time, effective Aug. 1. That includes coverage of methadone for opioid use disorder. It’s one of three medications used to help treat addicts.

Walthall said Medicaid and HIP coverage of medication-assisted treatment will remove an obstacle to treatment.

“We feel that access to care has been a significant barrier as this medication can only be dispensed at a certified opiate treatment center,” Walthall said.

According to Walthall, studies have shown that patients who use methadone are more likely to remain in treatment throughout the process.

The opioid treatment programs (OTPs) include counseling, education and support programs. They will begin offering services by June 30, 2018, joining 14 opioid programs currently serving Hoosiers.

“This is how we combat an opioid epidemic: by putting people first and embracing the integration of science, data and compassion as we make policy decisions that benefit Indiana,” Walthall said.

Holcomb said the opioid problem affects everyone—families, businesses and communities. He said drug addiction knows no socio-economic boundaries.

“We rank 15th in the nation in overdose fatalities,” Holcomb said. “Many have seen just how much this affects everyone. It’s become a crisis on multiple fronts.”

The governor said deaths from drug overdoses have increased 500 percent since 2000. Holcomb called combating the opioid crisis a key component of his administration and said the new treatment centers represent a "critically important" next step.