Heroin abuse issue battle worth fighting

(Marion) Chronicle-Tribune

It seems that the culture finds itself preoccupied with many phantom issues. We would include distracting questions of same-sex public restrooms, trying to ban guns as an appropriate and effective way to keep a tiny minority of violent crazies from randomly murdering, and the ongoing panic about climate change on a planet where climate change has been happening since the earth started turning.

We are pleased our local congresswoman, and a U.S. senator from Indiana, are turning attention to something that could reduce a chronic problem for those of us living in the real world.

A growing number of people are killing themselves and otherwise destroying their lives with heroin here in Central Indiana, while many others struggle with prescription drug abuse. This past week U.S. Rep. Susan W. Brooks, R-Indiana, introduced legislation with Rep. Joseph Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, to address a drug problem that impacts every community in Indiana, including Grant County.

For example, prosecutors now say Tyler Wayne Lisby, the Wabash man accused of reckless homicide in the hit-and-run death of Marla Turner of Marion, was under the influence of heroin when the vehicle he was driving struck the Marion woman in the parking lot of Marsh supermarket in April.

It seems as we move from reducing the use of certain drugs, such as the campaign against prescription drug abuse, addicts move on to other and often more dangerous drugs.

U.S. Senator, Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, along with Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

The proposed legislation would:

Establish an inter-agency taskforce to develop best practices for pain management and prescription pain medication prescribing practices. The taskforce will be composed of representatives from the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Veteran Affairs, Department of Defense, Drug Enforcement Administration and Office of National Drug Control Policy. It will be required to report its progress to Congress no later than 270 days after its formation.

Reauthorize the National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER) Reauthorization Act. The bill provides grants to states for the establishment, implementation, and improvement of prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) so providers can access for the early identification of patients at risk for addiction in order to initiate appropriate interventions.

Create a Naloxone Demonstration Grant Program increasing the preparedness of local first responders to administer Naloxone to overdose patients. The World Health Organization estimates that 20,000 deaths may be preventable in the U.S. every year through wider dissemination of Naloxone, which is used to reverse the effects of narcotic drugs.

Direct the Office of National Drug Control Policy to establish a national drug awareness campaign that focuses attention on the link between prescription drug abuse and heroin use.

Reauthorizes the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Program, which funds law enforcement programs, prosecution and court programs, prevention programs, drug treatment programs and technology improvement programs.

We think this is a commonsense approach to the battle against the death and personal destruction caused by drug abuse.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association.

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