Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly released the following statement following the announcement today that INSPECT, Indiana’s prescription drug monitoring program, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are forming a new partnership in an effort to help address the opioid abuse epidemic among Hoosier veterans. For more than two years, Donnelly has been working to combat the opioid abuse epidemic and has advocated vocally for Indiana to utilize INSPECT to its full potential, as he believes it is one of the most promising state-level tools to address prescription drug abuse. He has long argued that INSPECT should be a valuable resource for prescribers, public health officials, and other partners in the effort to confront opioid abuse. To that end, Donnelly’s office has worked with INSPECT, VA, and the Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis to explore ways to maximize the state’s prescription drug monitoring program.
Donnelly said, “The new partnership between INSPECT and the VA is good news for Hoosier veterans and builds on our efforts to address the devastating opioid epidemic. I have been working to ensure the INSPECT program is as strong as possible for all Hoosiers, including our veterans. As I have said, it’s going to take all of us working together to combat this public health crisis—doctors, first responders, families, educators, pharmacists, the VA, and local, state and federal officials. I am committed to continuing to work on addressing the opioid epidemic for our veterans and all Hoosiers.”
Last fall, Donnelly made recommendations to Governor Mike Pence’s Drug Task Force, and urged the Governor to provide the program with the attention and support necessary to enhance its use as a public health tool. In December 2015, Donnelly pressed the VA on their progress in providing prescription drug data to INSPECT and about what barriers exist in regards to partnering with Indiana’s prescription drug monitoring program, sending a letter to VA Secretary Bob McDonald. Since then, Donnelly’s staff has had numerous conversations with Roudebush, the VA, and INSPECT.
The INSPECT-VA partnership will require that veterans’ prescriptions through the VA be enrolled in INSPECT’s online database, allowing health care professionals and prescribers to access this information. This aims to help health care professionals and prescribers to identify possible abuses.
The partnership between INSPECT and the VA will begin with a pilot program at Roudebush. Following the pilot program’s results, the Adam Benjamin, Jr. VA in Crown Point and both the Fort Wayne and Marion, IN campuses of the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System will then begin utilizing the INSPECT program.