Work to prevent opiate drug abuse

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INDYSTAR on Indiana 10:13 p.m. EDT May 2, 2015

Since Gov. Mike Pence issued a public health disaster emergency order in response to the state’s HIV outbreak, public and private leaders have marshalled a remarkable effort to identify cases, provide care and support to those who have tested positive for HIV, and prevent new infections. This evidence-based approach is critical to effectively contain the outbreak.

Last fiscal year, the federal government invested more than $23.2 million to support HIV, sexually transmitted disease and viral hepatitis prevention, treatment and response activities in Indiana. Federal-state partnerships like this are essential to achieving an AIDS-free generation.

Looking forward, we must increase our efforts to confront the outbreak’s primary source: injection drug use, in this case through the misuse of prescription opioid medications. The Office of National Drug Control Policy and the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program have been focused on this issue, along with state and local leadership.

The spread of these infections is not the only consequence of America’s opioid epidemic. Since 2010, drug poisoning deaths have surpassed traffic crashes as the most lethal cause of preventable injury.

How do we prevent opioid misuse and abuse from developing into chronic disorders? By starting early to prevent misuse from ever beginning.