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Indiana Opioid Epidemic – Progress to Report

At the end of May, we reported on a lawsuit filed by the state of Indiana against several owners and directors Purdue Pharma alleging some may have played a key role in contributing to Indiana’s opioid epidemic. You can read it elsewhere on this page.

While we haven’t heard any further news about that suit, there is some more good news in Indiana’s fight against opioids.

According to a new report from the American Medical Association, Indiana’s efforts in the fight against opioids seem to be paying off. The AMA Opioid Task Force 2019 Progress Report shows opioid prescriptions in Indiana have decreased 35.1 percent over the past five years, which is 2 percent higher than the national average. The Indiana Hospital Association (IHA) and the Indiana State Medical Association say the state’s effort to encourage and promote the responsible prescription of opioids among physicians is a key driver of the results.

Brian Tabor, President of the IHA, recently commented on the results during an interview on Inside Indiana Business. “I think it’s a combination of public education and awareness of the appropriateness of opioid prescriptions. Sometimes they’re needed and they’re there for chronic pain but there are alternatives and so education is a part,” said Tabor.

“But beyond education, there’s public policy and we’ve seen some important laws and regulations put into place through the work of the Indiana General Assembly and Governor Holcomb’s leadership. Then there’s the professional medical groups and individual practitioners and their work in coming together, collaborating, sharing best practices.”

Tabor says decreasing inappropriate prescribing is just one aspect of the fight against the opioid epidemic, but there are many others the state can focus on such as making naloxone more available and educating the public, especially employers, about abuse and the steps that can be taken toward treatment.

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