News Releases

State Legislators Working Together To Stop Opioid Epidemic

STATEHOUSE (March 17, 2017) - State legislators met with LaPorte County Commissioner Dr. Vidya Kora and members of the Swanson Center today to discuss the possible development of a regional opioid treatment center located in LaPorte County.

State Sen. Mike Bohacek (R-Michiana Shores) said this is a first step in helping those dealing with addiction in this area.

“LaPorte County is ranked highly in Indiana for heroin abuse,” Bohacek said. “We are coming together to find a solution to this problem and are hopeful we can get a treatment facility in place that will help save lives.”

During Friday’s meeting, Bohacek and State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) discussed creating an in-patient and out-patient facility in LaPorte County, which would be located in the LaPorte County Home.

Merritt has been involved in efforts to fight illegal drug abuse across the state.

“I have been traveling around the state to raise awareness of the drug epidemic that is impacting every facet of our communities,” Merritt said. “I am certain this facility would provide much-needed assistance to Hoosiers in this area who are struggling with this terrible illness. Ensuring treatment is available for Hoosiers will continue to be a top priority this legislative session and beyond.”

State Rep. Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) said a bipartisan approach to combating drug addiction is important.

“Fighting opioid addiction is one of the great challenges of our time,” Pelath said. “Overdose deaths are at an all-time high in our country. It is a disease, a deadly one. In Indiana, we are making great strides because we are attacking addiction in a bipartisan manner. It is not just a fight against drug addiction. It is truly a fight for life.”

Some of the goals resulting from Friday’s meeting are to encourage public input on the plan to create opioid recovery resources, and to find funding. State Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) is eager to find out how the state can help.

“I am interested to hear the responses from local stakeholders on this proposal,” Tallian said.

State Rep. Jim Pressel (R-Rolling Prairie) echoed the responses, saying it’s time to find resources that truly work.

“In 2015, there were more than 1,200 drug-related Hoosier deaths,” Pressel said. “By having this facility operate as an opioid treatment center, we can better ensure Hoosiers who are addicted to drugs have access to the resources and services they need on their road to recovery.”

The public is encouraged to contact their state elected officials with their input on the proposal. Members of the Indiana House of Representatives can be reached at 800-382-9841, and the Senate 800-382-9467.



Contact: Natalie Russell, Press Secretary

Danielle Wheat, Press Secretary Intern