IN Focus: What will opioid declaration mean here in Indiana?

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INDIANAPOLIS - Hoosiers impacted by the opioid crisis are reacting to President Trump’s declaration of a national public health emergency.

While the declaration isn’t a magic bullet, a lot of people are hoping it at least gets the conversation going towards a permanent solution.

In the video above, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) expresses his support for the President's emergency declaration.

"The opioid epidemic is something I care deeply about because it has destroyed far too many lives," said Rokita in a written statement. "Hoosiers know this is a crisis and I am going to work with President Trump to continue fighting for ways to stop this epidemic.”

In the video below, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) shares his thoughts on the opioid epidemic, and other issues in the news.

"We know it will take an all-hands on deck approach at the federal, state, and local levels to combat the opioid epidemic," said Donnelly. "The President’s announcement is another important step in the ongoing effort to bring more awareness to this escalating crisis that has devastated families and communities across Indiana and our country."

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DNC chairman Tom Perez issued a statement Thursday, calling for more funding to address the epidemic:

“Hoosier families struggling with opioid addiction need meaningful action. That’s why Democrats have fought to protect and expand funding for opioid addiction treatment, including through the Affordable Care Act and state programs across the country. But instead of focusing on prevention, treatment, and recovery, Trump and Republicans have tried to take away people’s health care and gut funding for this national emergency. Just this week, Republicans in Congress passed a budget that cuts more than a trillion dollars from Medicare and Medicaid. If President Trump plans to take this crisis seriously, he should back up his declaration with action and veto the heartless Republican budget.

“Democrats believe that this urgent crisis demands an aggressive response. Every day, the opioid epidemic takes lives and tears families apart. That’s why Democrats will keep working to expand access to treatment and provide more resources to those affected.”

Politics aside, advocates say it's an issue that needs action.

“We have seen a big spike in the number of people who have overdosed and died, including opioids,” Claire Fiddian-Green said, president and CEO of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation.

Fiddian-Green said the crisis continues to worsen statewide, pointing the foundation’s research the past year and a recent survey by the National Safety Council that found 80 percent of Indiana employers now report misuse of prescription opioids among their employees.

“Everyone understands the enormity of the problem,” Fiddian-Green said. “But it’s a very complex problem, so it really does take everyone working together as much as possible trying to move in the same direction.”

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