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September 2016

Every day, 129 Americans die of a drug overdose, with 61 percent of those deaths relating to pharmaceutical opioids or heroin. Indiana is not immune to this spreading epidemic. In fact, the number of heroin overdoses in the state increased 2.7 times from 2011 to 2014.

This week is Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week, drawing attention to the dangerous cycle of opioid misuse and heroin abuse across the country.

State lawmakers are working to address the growing drug problem in Indiana.

A new law is preventing fatal drug overdoses by permitting pharmacies to sell overdose intervention drugs, like Narcan, over-the-counter without a prescription. Narcan is a safe, non-addictive medication that reverses the effects of drug overdoses. Making medicine like Narcan readily available can save lives in the event of an overdose of heroin or prescription pain medicine. Indiana also provides Narcan training for first responders and the general population.

Another new law requires Medicaid coverage for inpatient detoxification for the treatment of opioid or alcohol dependence. This law is a product of the Attorney General’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force and will provide an evidence-based comprehensive approach to opioid treatment through clinical practice guidelines.

Many overdoses are a result of prescription drug abuse. To help prevent prescription drug abuse, find a Drug Take-Back Location near you.

During this week and moving forward, we encourage you to start conversations with your family and friends about the devastating effects of opioid and heroin abuse. If you or someone you know is seeking treatment, please visit BitterPill.IN.gov.

 

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“Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?”

This was the question asked to American households across the nation, to which one in six answered “yes.” “How Hungry is America?,” a study conducted by the Food Research & Action Center, summarizes data about food hardship in the U.S.

Despite Indiana’s growing economy, 15.5 percent of households reported they struggled to afford enough food in 2015. Thankfully, communities and businesses across the state have come together to help hungry Hoosiers, especially through September, which is Hunger Action Month.

The Indiana Farms to Food Banks Program provides fresh, healthy produce to Hoosiers in need while creating a market for surplus or blemished produce. Through the program, participating food banks can buy perfectly edible produce below wholesale prices. Farmers and producers interested in getting involved should visit the Feeding Indiana’s Hungry website.

Kroger launched a new campaign that aims to reduce flu-related hospitalizations while feeding others. Now through April 1, 2017, Kroger will donate one meal through the Feeding America network of food banks for every flu shot administered at all Kroger pharmacies or The Little Clinic locations.

Midas is trying to “Drive Out Hunger” during September by donating one meal to Feeding America for every share of their YouTube video on social media and for every Instagram photo using #MakeThisMealReal. Another way to get involved on social media is by participating in Feeding America’s #Spoontember to help get people talking about Hunger Action Month.

Visit Feeding America’s website for other promotions to help end hunger.

Don’t forget – you can volunteer your time or donate supplies to your local food bank year-round. Find your closest food bank here.

Remembering 9/11

Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Nearly 3,000 lives were taken in the morning hours of 9/11, including nine Hoosiers who were working in the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon.

Just 16 hours after the collapse of the Twin Towers, 277 Hoosiers stepped foot onto Ground Zero to help in recovery efforts. Doctors, police officers, firefighters, mental health counselors and many more from Indiana bravely helped their fellow Americans.

Let’s remember the role all the brave first responders played on Sept. 11, 2001, and continue honoring those who dedicate themselves to protecting us.

As a way to pay tribute to all the victims of the attacks, consider donating blood during National Blood Donation Week. Click here to learn how to save a life.

Please take a moment to reflect on what was lost that September morning 15 years ago.

We will never forget the courage shown on 9/11 and how our country stood up against the face of evil.

May God continue to bless America.

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