Senator sets 5 year goal to combat drug epidemic

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Fox 59 News on 12/06/2016 by Aishe Hasnie

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – From heroin to prescription pain pills, Hoosiers are dying from drug overdoses at an alarming rate and now the Governor’s Drug Task Force report is out with steps to fight back.

The Task Force spent a year researching the deadly epidemic and put together 17 recommendations to tackle enforcement, treatment, and prevention. (Read the full report here.)

Some recommendations have already come into fruition, like stiffer penalties for drug dealers and expanding the state’s Lifeline Law to include immunity for drugs.

But State Senator Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) said the report is merely scratching the surface on how to fix this widespread problem.

He’s introducing a bundle of bills this upcoming legislative session and a goal he calls #KillHeroinIn5. His focus is to get the state to see addiction as an illness.

“In the State of Indiana you can commit murder, be convicted, go away, serve your time in jail, and then get out and be eligible for food stamps.  If you commit a drug felony in the state of Indiana, and you’re convicted, and do your time and get out, you cannot get food stamps,” said Merritt. “There are laws that we need to change that recognizes that the drug addiction is an illness not a character flaw.”