News Releases

Merritt: Bills To Address Indiana’s Drug Epidemic Moving Through The State House

STATE HOUSE (March 3, 2017) – The legislature has reached the halfway point, and Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) has authored many important bills dealing with the drug epidemic in Indiana. The following bills will now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration:

  • Senate Bill 9 would allow reformed drug felons to collect Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Indiana is currently one of only 13 states that does not allow drug felons to collect these benefits, while all other types of felons in Indiana have that opportunity to collect them.
  • Senate Bill 151 would require doctors to note if a patient has entered into a pain management contract with them in INSPECT, Indiana’s drug monitoring program. This would help prevent doctor shopping and help people avoid getting addicted to pain medication.
  • Senate Bill 153 would require the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), Indiana Department of Administration and the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) to report the number of beds for addiction treatment currently available in the state. They must also include the location and description of the state-owned buildings that will be available by July 1, 2018, for drug and alcohol detoxification, treatment and recovery.
  • Senate Bill 156 would require the Division of Mental Health and Addiction to add additional reporting requirements for opioid treatment programs throughout Indiana.
  • Senate Bill 226 would limit the amount of opioids that may be prescribed to a patient receiving his or her first opioid prescription from a provider, helping doctors ensure patients avoid developing an addiction to pain medication.
  • Senate Bill 242 would establish the Housing First Program, administered by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. The program would assist homeless people and those at risk for homelessness by providing rental assistance and wraparound services to those individuals.
  • Senate Bill 402 would require the secretary of FSSA to develop standards for residential care and supported housing for chronic addiction, when used as a recovery residence, to be certified and meet standards established by the Division of Mental Health and Addiction.
  • Senate Bill 446 would establish a pilot program to assist pregnant women and new moms dealing with an opioid addiction by providing treatment in a residential care facility under the oversight of the ISDH.
  • Senate Bill 510 would create a substance abuse pilot program in Allen County designed to assist individuals in the criminal justice system dealing with an opioid addiction. The treatment would include helping the individual develop a long-term plan for sober living.

More information about these bills and others can be found here.


Click here for a high-resolution photo of Merritt.