INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 20, 2015) — As the heroin crisis deepens across the state, new methadone clinics will be allowed to open following a nearly 10-year ban.
Pick pretty much any county in Indiana and you’ll find a heroin problem that has surged out of control, according to state officials. That’s why the legislature passed the bill, which will ease up on restrictions to treatment clinics using drugs like methadone.
“It’s hard to know if we’re at the peak of this crisis or if it’s going to continue to get worse,” Fairbanks Director of Adult Services Robin Parsons said.
Fairbanks has long provided services in Marion County. It’s where Parsons sees the crisis first-hand.
Not only is heroin addiction increasing, it’s leading to needle exchange programs in areas like Scott County, where HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C cases have become epidemics.
Parsons said young people, ages 18 to 30 in particular, are at the heart of the problem.
“It may be introduced to them in a way of smoking it or snorting it so they’re not necessarily feeling like that’s quite as bad. (They think), ‘I’m not using an IV, it’s not as dangerous,'” Parsons said. “Sometimes easier to use heroin that it would be to obtain beer (underage).”
The new legislation, sponsored by State Senator Patricia Miller, R-Marion County, allows for five new methadone clinics to open between now and 2018. The clinics will need to provide wraparound services, be run by a hospital or mental health center and open in a county where methadone treatment is not currently available.
Miller herself helped passed the ban on new methadone clinics back in 2007, when for-profit clinics were opening at a rapid pace. She said that while she doesn’t believe methadone to be the end solution to the problem, she saw how much of a crisis addiction had become.
“There (are) problems across the state and frankly across the country with increase in addiction. We’re trying to provide additional treatment and to be proactive to help people wean off of addiction,” Miller said.