Governor Pence Signs Legislation to Combat Drug Abuse in Indiana through Increased Enforcement, Treatment and Prevention

Governor Pence Bill SigningIndianapolis – Governor Mike Pence today signed bipartisan legislation to combat drug abuse in Indiana. These bills were recommendations of the Governor’s Task Force on Drug Enforcement, Treatment and Prevention, which was created on September 1, 2015 by Governor Pence and consists of experts from a variety of specialties tasked with developing a comprehensive approach to addressing drug problems in Indiana.

“The scourge of drug abuse has brought heartbreak for far too many Hoosiers families,” said Governor Pence. “Drug abuse problems are not unique to our state, but I’m determined to meet this challenge head-on here in Indiana. To start, I believe that any strategy to address drug abuse must start with enforcement. We need to make it clear that Indiana will not tolerate the actions of criminals, and I’m pleased to sign into law HEA 1235 to increase penalties on drug dealers.

“As we seek to address the root causes of addiction and focus on treatment, I’m also pleased to sign additional legislation that provides for opioid dependence treatment, a standing order for naloxone and immunity for certain individuals who administer it, and establishes the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse. The best way to reduce, prevent and treat drug addiction is to develop a holistic and collaborative approach, and I’m confident that these bills will help save Hoosier lives.”

The Governor signed the following bills regarding drug enforcement, treatment and prevention:

  • HEA 1235 – Ensures that those convicted of repeated, drug dealing felony offenses may not receive suspended sentences if the offense involves meth or heroin and the person has a prior conviction for dealing either cocaine, heroin or meth.
  • SEA 271 – Establishes the Indiana Commission to Combat Drug Abuse, which will be responsible for coordinating substance abuse prevention, treatment and enforcement throughout the State of Indiana. The Commission goes into effect on January 1, 2017, transitioning from and building on the work accomplished by the Governor’s Drug Task Force.
  • SEA 187 – Ensures that lifesaving overdose intervention drugs are available statewide by requiring the Indiana State Department of Health to issue a statewide standing order for naloxone. This will increase access to naloxone statewide and allow entities such as pharmacies and non-profits to register with ISDH using their standing order and dispense naloxone to individuals in need of the drug without a prescription from a physician. SEA 187 also provides immunity from certain offenses for individuals who administer naloxone to a person who has overdosed, call 911, and cooperate with law enforcement when they arrive on the scene.
  • SEA 297 – Expands the criteria FSSA Medicaid uses to determine medical necessity for inpatient detox and requires Medicaid coverage for inpatient detoxification in accordance with ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) Patient Placement Criteria to include treatment of opioid or alcohol dependence. SEA 297 is a product of the Attorney General’s Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force.

The Bill Watch page will be updated accordingly:

Governor Pence signed the bills in a ceremony at Hope Academy in Indianapolis. Hope Academy is a tuition-free, Indiana public charter high school for students in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. As the only recovery high school in Indiana – and just one of 30 nationwide – Hope Academy provides a supportive community for students to maintain their sobriety and receive a Core 40 diploma. Hope Academy is one of only three recovery high schools in the United States accredited by the Association of Recovery High Schools. More information on Hope Academy can be found here.

About Brian Scott

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