SCOTT COUNTY, Ind. (WHAS11) -- Opioid addiction has become an epidemic across the United States and Indiana's governor says he wants to stop it in the Hoosier state. Governor Eric Holcomb announced an expansion of treatment efforts Wednesday.
The plan includes five opioid treatment programs placed around the state. Along with the new locations, a policy change in medication will take effect August 1. That’s when Indiana Medicaid members will have coverage provided in an opioid treatment program, including access to methadone.
Governor Holcomb says the new programs are extremely important and cites that since the year 2000, deaths from drug overdoses has increased more than 500 percent.
“The darkness that has come into this county is a learning process for all of us,” says Gregory Dodds.
He tells us that he grew up in Scottsburg and was addicted to opioids and alcohol. Dodds says when the government got involved back in 2015, calling for a state of emergency due to high HIV cases and drug use, it was the right decision.
“When the feds started coming in and they started setting up programs, I realized that perhaps this is how it's going to work. This community can heal. Politics and the legislature are starting to reach out to addicts, tells me that they're really starting to realize that this is a huge problem,” Dodds said.
Methadone is a narcotic to treat drug addiction and prior to Governor Holcomb's announcement, only Vivitrol and suboxone were accepted by state insurance.
“It takes a whole array of different things from medications, to 12 step programs, to sometimes therapists, church,” Dodds said.
Suboxone is what Dodds credit for saving his life, but he's pleased that more avenues will be available thanks to lawmakers.
From high ranking officials in the capital to those recovering and fighting every single day, it’s clear that in the Hoosier state, the more tools to fight addiction, the better.
Health officials say the methadone maintenance treatment options will be another tool for physicians to help those who are struggling with addiction. For more resources in southern Indiana, visit http://www.lifespringhealthsystems.org/about-us/locations/ or http://www.scottcountyinhealthdept.com/