The United States is facing an extreme Opioid epidemic. Many states are seeing a rise in deaths and overdoses relating to prescription medication. Indiana is one such state, ranking number 15 in the country for overdose fatalities. Since 1999, the overdose death rate in Indiana has more than quadrupled. With the help of the government, Indiana University has decided to tackle this problem head-on.

Support for research

The program is being supported by many different groups, including Indiana University Health, Eskenazi Health, and the state government.

Governor Eric Holcomb stated in his state of the state address last year that fixing the opioid crisis was a priority during his administration. Since IU has the best researching ability out of any universities in the state, IU President Michael A. McRobbie offered to help.

Indiana University was awarded $55 million for an initiative on environmental change earlier this year. The university plans on spending $50 million over the course of five years to find a solution to this epidemic. By the end of the year, they're expecting almost a dozen projects for this program to be underway, with more coming in 2018. They're planning to analyze different areas of the opioid crisis in order to find a solution.

The plan for recovery

There are several plans of action that the university plans on taking in order to solve this crisis. One focus area is Data Collection. Not all coroner's in Indiana have the ability to determine which drugs contributed to the death of a person, which makes it hard for officials to track all of the deaths from overdoses.

Data collection will also be used to help find alternative treatments for pain in order to decrease the number of opioid prescriptions.

The researchers will be focusing on law and policy as well. One goal is to find out how many local providers are licensed to prescribe buprenorphine, a medication used to help recovery processes.

Another is finding out how many pharmacies offer drug take-back programs in order to make sure that unused medications don't end up with the wrong person.

The university hopes to focus on education and training people whose careers involve helping those who suffer from addictions. They'll be exploring the possibility of providing awareness programs to help prevent teenagers and young adults from becoming addicted in the first place. They'll also be researching why some people form addictions and others don't. It may be easier to warn people of the possibility of developing addictions if professionals have a further understanding of how addiction works.

While the university will be trying to educate others on this issue, it will be a big learning experience for themselves as well.

Hopefully, with the work of these researchers and educating others, Indiana can find a solution to this opioid crisis once and for all.

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