LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - A recent community health assessment by the Tippecanoe County Health department shows that the local community's largest health concern is drug abuse in the area.
"Over 50% of the people that responded to the health assessment said that drug abuse was a big problem in our community," said Ron Cripe, the head of the Tippecanoe County Health Department.
It's become such a large problem that one private treatment facility chose the Tippecanoe County area to build its latest facility, out of several sites across the nation.
"The community has been under served for quite some time for mental health needs, chemical dependency needs," said Barb Walls, Director of Nursing at Sycamore Springs.
But it wasn't clear to Walls just how great that need was until the day the new treatment facility opened up its doors.
"We had people waiting when the doors were unlocked to be assessed for our services. And as I said, we knew there was a need in our community but I don't think any of us realized it would be that overwhelming that quickly," said Walls.
Walls said demand for the services offered at Sycamore Springs continues to grow, at a rate quicker than even the staff had anticipated. One of two units is already opened, but once it becomes fully operational it will be the largest clinic of its kind in Tippecanoe County.
Walls said the growing need could be due to a combination of factors including population growth in the area, and the dwindling stigma for seeking treatment.
"It's more acceptable now for people to get treatment for substance abuse and mental health treatment and we have just not had the facilities, or the capability to handle the need," said Walls.
Walls also stressed the importance of building a treatment center that was more accessible and close to its patients, especially as they continue through their treatment.
People across Indiana are bundling up against colder temperatures than parts of the state saw in either of the past two winters.
A northwestern Indiana planning board is expected to vote on whether to move forward with building the proposed Illiana Expressway that would connect Interstate 65 near Lowell with Interstate 55 south of Chicago.
An attorney for a southern Indiana man charged with murder in the death of his 20-year-old nephew says the shooting was an accident.