Bartels: Help available for more Hoosiers to kick addiction

September is National Recovery Month and a great opportunity to learn more about resources that can help and reach out. One in 12 Hoosiers struggle with some form of substance abuse, according to a statewide addiction initiative led by Indiana University. That’s why we must continue providing help to anyone facing mental health and substance use disorders, and encourage them to seek treatment.

As a disease, addiction is difficult to overcome alone, and those struggling deserve support and easy access to proven treatment programs.  In Indiana, we are working hard to expand recovery resources, and provide first responders and families effective tools to save lives.

Indiana’s Workforce Recovery program, established through a law I co-authored, helps Hoosiers overcome addiction while working and educates employers on steps to take to help staff. Participants undergo drug treatment as the state helps cover a majority of the costs. Through this program, we are simultaneously addressing our communities’ workforce shortages while putting those struggling with addiction on the path to sobriety and steady employment. To learn more about this program, visit wellnessindiana.org/recover.

Indiana is also expanding Recovery Works, a program providing treatment services to uninsured Hoosiers who are involved with the criminal justice system. Participating agencies in southern Indiana include LifeSpring Health Services and Southwestern Behavioral Healthcare. To sign up for this program, visit in.gov/fssa/dmha/recovery-works.

There were 2,268 opioid-related deaths in Indiana in 2020 alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Indiana is hard working to distribute more naloxone, a life-saving overdose reversal drug, to more Hoosiers. Indiana recently invested $1.3 million in overdose prevention. With this funding, Overdose Lifeline, Inc. will distribute 35,000 naloxone doses to first responders, families and others likely to be on the scene of an overdose. To receive a naloxone kit and training on how to use the live-saving drug, visit overdoselifeline.org.

Sadly, overdose deaths increased by 60 percent in Indiana last year, according to the CDC. With increased access to treatment services and naloxone, we can reverse this trend and save lives.

Every life deserves to be saved. If you are struggling with addiction, please seek help today by calling 211 or the national helpline at 800-662-4357.

State Rep. Stephen Bartels (R-Eckerty) represents House District 74, which includes portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.