Indiana has recently been fighting major health problems related to the widespread drug abuse across the state. From a large HIV outbreak to leading the county in meth lab busts, the state as a whole has felt much despair due to the dramatic increase in drug abuse over the past decade. The rampant drug use has stretched across the state in all forms and has put Indiana on the national drug abuse radar.
Drug use and HIV
In recent months, there has been an enormous outbreak of HIV infections related to intravenous drug use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is working with state health leaders to control the “severe outbreak,” largely due to the intravenous use of the prescription opioid, Opana. Since December 2014, 142 people have tested positive for HIV, with 136 confirmed cases. The majority of these cases have occurred in the rural Jackson and Scott counties, which is home to collectively only 65,000 residents.
State health leaders and the CDC held a news conference last Friday to discuss this outbreak and the growing HIV problem from intravenous drug abuse, specifically in secluded rural areas like Scott County and Jackson County where resources for health care are scarcer. This large outbreak of HIV is believed to be due to the sharing of needles, which has also lead to a 150 percent increase in Hepatitis C between 2010 and 2013. The state has made efforts to improve health care options in Scott County, where much of the outbreak started and declared a public health emergency in that county in March. Governor Mike Pierce approved a needle-exchange within the county as an effort to prevent any further HIV outbreak.
A growing methamphetamine problem
Aside from the tragic spread of HIV in southern Indiana, the state has also been heavily hit by methamphetamine. According to statistics submitted to the FBI from Missouri Highway Patrol, Indiana has recorded more meth busts than any other state this past year with a reported 1,469 incidents. The state is home to only 2 percent of the U.S. population but has claimed 15 percent of U.S. meth lab busts.
The number of Indiana meth labs discovered in 2014 is actually a 17 percent decrease from 2013’s total of 1,808, which shows an improvement in the situation. However, recent statistics have shown that meth use has started to make a shift towards the urban areas. The Indiana State Police reported 314 meth lab incidents in 2000, a rate which has more than quadrupled in the past 14 years. Recently, state legislation has passed numerous bills to restrict the sale and purchase of pseudoephedrine, a primary ingredient in making meth. Law enforcement has requested more firm restrictions.
The cost of overdose
The drug overdose death rate in Indiana grew dramatically from 1999 to 2010. Within this span of time, the rate increased from 3.2 to 14.4 deaths per 100,000 people. This marks a 400 percent increase, which was shown to be a similar number to Indiana’s neighboring states as well. This is likely due to the large rise in prescription drug abuse that has plagued the country for over the past decade. Prescription drug abuse can be attributed to more deaths than all other illicit drugs combined.
As drug-related incidents increase in the state, Indiana law enforcement continues to take measures to crack down on drug abuse. The state has also made an effort to improve health care options in rural areas where such opportunities are less prevalent. These areas that lack resources make up a large portion of the state.
The dramatically rising rates of drug addiction in the United States mark an increasing need for drug addiction treatment. Sovereign Health Group is among the leading drug addiction treatment centers in the country, offering a variety of inpatient and outpatient programs for patients struggling with drug addiction, mental health disorders and dual diagnosis conditions. If you know someone who is struggling with drug addiction and is in need of treatment, please contact us and one of our treatment specialists can help you finding a treatment option to suit your needs.
Written by Benjamin Creekmore, Sovereign Health Group writer