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President Biden Tests Positive for Covid; Report: SD ethanol plants release hazardous air pollutants; Report: CA giant sequoia groves in peril after megafires.

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It's grass-cutting season and with it, rural lawn mower races, Montana's drive-thru blood project is easing shortages, rural Americans spend more on food when transportation costs are tallied and a lack of good childcare is thwarting rural business owners.

IN opioid overdoses decrease, other drugs may reverse trend

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Tuesday, May 28, 2024   

Drug overdoses are decreasing in Indiana. The data is encouraging, but too late for one mother who lost her son to a heroin overdose.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the state saw a nearly 18% drop in drug use over a one year span starting in December 2022.

Founder and CEO of the nonprofit Overdose Lifeline, Justin Phillips said after she lost her son she channeled her pain towards one of advocacy, education, and support for others affected by addiction.

"I learned that hydrocodone and heroin were the same drug with different chemical makeup, and all of this stuff that I - as a fairly educated person - didn't know," said Phillips. "So, I knew I had to do something with my grief and loss."

A 2021 Indiana Department of Health report shows opioid as the most frequently found substance in overdose deaths.

Public health officials warn fatalities will rise linked to non-opioid substances - such as cocaine, benzodiazepines, and amphetamines.

Removing the stigma, shame and misunderstanding behind substance abuse associated with opioid use disorder is another objective of Overdose Lifeline.

Phillips' efforts led to lawmakers passing Aaron's Law in 2015, named after her late son.

But she said she would like to see more legislative action behind stopping the criminalization of syringe possession, and clarity of fentanyl test strip coding.

"Individuals with substance use disorder use syringes - we need to help individuals not punish them," said Phillips. "Secondly, we would like to clear up the language so that people don't feel afraid to use a fentanyl test strip and be able to test their drugs before they use them without fear of criminal punishment."

She admitted that most people are not willing to accept that substance abuse is a chronic disease and that people need help, not judgment.

The National Center for Health Statistics reports in 2022, 43 Hoosiers per 100,000 Indiana residents died from a drug overdose.



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