INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Indiana recently ranked seventh in the country for highest drug use. The new WalletHub study looked at a number of things including the number of teenagers using and selling drugs, the number of opioid prescriptions, drug arrests, treatment facilities and more.
And when you look at the numbers, despite the efforts we've seen in the past few years, the number of opioid related deaths continues to rise. In 2016, there were more than 1,500 drug overdose deaths in Indiana. Now, Addiction Policy Forum wants to offer a new resource to help people struggling with drug abuse and their families.
It's been nearly five years since Aaron Phillips died from a drug overdose at 20 years old. His mother is still on the front lines making sure other families don't have to endure the pain she still feels.
"Shame and stigma and denial, big barriers and I'm one to openly admit that those stood in the way of getting him help I could've possibly gotten him," Justin Phillips said.
Justin says knowledge and resources could've helped save her son. So, she's passing that on through her work with Addiction Policy Forum. The addiction non-profit has launched a confidential phone line manned by addiction counselors and an online portal with lifesaving resources.
"We often as families and caregivers and loved ones don't know where to turn. We don't have one real clear resource to help us weed through the options available for us for a loved one," Justin said.
The number 1-833-301-HELP and the site www.addictionresourcecenter.org are for caregivers and people who are struggling with substance abuse disorder. You can put in your parameters like if you have insurance and the type of treatment you're looking for. Then, all available resources in your area are listed. Justin believes families should have this guide on hand and be able to take action right away.
"When an individual is ready is the key moment in time when we need to take action. Because readiness is now because if I have to wait I might be ready I might not be as willing as I am now," Justin said.
Justin says although the numbers paint a dark picture she won't stop fighting and spreading the word.
"Recovery is possible and that help is available. Don't give up on your loved one. Don’t be ashamed that they suffer from opioid use disorder or substance use disorder because it is a chronic disease."
The resource line is available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST.