The need for increased access to addiction treatment services and solutions to combat the effects of the opioid epidemic were the focuses of an opioid presentation held last week in La Porte, Indiana.
The gathering was hosted by the Health Care Foundation of La Porte — a not for profit private foundation that has been dedicated to empowering wellness and public health among La Porte residents since 2016.
The foundation recently commissioned the La Porte Opioid Study to address the problem of opioid abuse and addiction in La Porte County. The study not only includes data regarding opioid abuse in La Porte but also features the major challenges in tackling the opioid epidemic and recommendations to target the community’s needs.
Local officials, policymakers, and representatives from several organizations in the area were at the presentation to hear the findings of the Opioid Study be announced for the first time.
The audience watched speaker Jennifer Walthall, M.D., secretary of the Family and Social Security Administration, explaining that the state of Indiana has seen an increase in opioid-related deaths of more than 1,000 percent in less than 20 years.
Yet, she stated that she does not think that the opioid crisis has reached its peak yet.
The study revealed that 270,000 Indiana residents over the age of 12 misused a prescription opioid while 24,000 used heroin within the past year.
Over 50 percent of the people who have entered an addiction treatment facility in La Porte had an opioid use disorder.
And La Porte’s non-fatal opioid overdose rates are higher than the rates seen in the state of Indiana.
The speakers all emphasized that considering the alarming data more addiction treatment services are needed in La Porte — particularly inpatient, detox, and medication-assisted treatment services for the people who have an opioid use disorder.
Naloxone is available in only five locations across La Porte and only seven local doctors have proper authorization to prescribe buprenorphine, according to the study.
The number of counseling and professional therapy services is also limited in the area.
There are five mental health treatment centers in La Porte County, but all of them offer only outpatient counseling services. The research also revealed that there are only three different mental health centers in neighboring counties that offer medication-assisted addiction treatment services.
In addition to the… (continue reading)