Indianapolis – Governor Mike Pence announced the creation of the Governor’s Task Force on Drug Enforcement, Treatment, and Prevention (Task Force), an effort by his Administration to combat drug abuse in Indiana.
“We’ve created the Governor’s Task Force on Drug Enforcement, Treatment, and Prevention because it is time to take a holistic and collaborative approach to addressing substance abuse and its many heartbreaking repercussions in our state,” said Governor Pence. “Drug abuse problems are not unique to Indiana, and while multiple entities are doing their part to combat drug abuse, we must work together as a state identify gaps that hinder us from preventing drug abuse, treating drug abuse, and effectively enforcing drug laws. An effort of this magnitude requires the insight and involvement of all three branches of government, multiple state agencies, local municipalities, experts in the fields of drug treatment and youth intervention, community outreach, medical authorities and I welcome the input of all of those who will be involved in this critical undertaking. Together is the best way to reduce, prevent, and treat drug addiction in Indiana.”
Established by Executive Order, the Task Force will bring together Indiana experts from a variety of specialties to evaluate the growing national drug problem here in Indiana. Specifically, the Task Force is charged with:
· Statewide assessment: Evaluate the existing resources across all areas, identify gaps in enforcement, treatment and prevention and provide recommendations for improvement.
· Enforcement: Identify effective strategies so federal, state, and local law enforcement can partner together to combat drug abuse
· Treatment: Analyze available resources for treatment and identify best practices for treating drug addiction
· Prevention: Identify programs and/or policies which are effective in preventing drug abuse, including early youth intervention programs
The Task Force will meet monthly for the next three months – on September 16th, October 15th, and November 19th. The meetings will take place in the north, south, and central regions and will include testimony from local experts and families impacted by the epidemic. The Task Force will provide recommendations to the Governor throughout the process of meetings, and will prepare a final report of all findings and recommendations.
From 1999 to 2009, Indiana saw a 500 percent increase in the rate of drug overdose deaths, and in 2013, Indiana ranked 16th in highest overdose rate in the nation.