- Associated Press - Saturday, July 2, 2016

MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) - Indiana stands to receive $19 million to fight opioid abuse if Congress approves President Barack Obama’s $1.1 billion program to address the problem nationwide.

In 2014, 450 Indiana residents died from overdoses of opioids, which include heroin and prescription painkillers such as OxyContin and fentanyl, The (Munster) Times reported (http://bit.ly/29mekBh ). Yet, Indiana has one of the country’s worst shortages of substance abuse specialists, according to the Pew Research Center. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates opioid overdoses kill 78 Americans each day.

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy organized a conference call with reporters Friday to promote Obama’s plan. On the call, Jodie Hicks of Lafayette, Indiana, described her struggle to get her son treatment for his heroin addiction. The closest methadone clinic is 60 miles away in Indianapolis.

For 10 months she drove her son to the facility and back every day. When she couldn’t make the trip any longer, he got back on heroin.

She added that treatment facilities have long waiting lists and some do not accept her son’s Medicaid insurance.

“When an addict decides they’re ready, you can’t wait,” she said. “I hope this funding can be passed before more lives are lost.”

Also on the call, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg told of parents in a nearby community who woke up one day to find both their teenage sons dead from overdoses.

“This is a public health emergency, and it’s something we clearly have to do a better job getting out ahead of,” he said.

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Information from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com

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