LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLF) - Rx Abuse Leadership Initiative of Indiana, also known as RALI, announced it is giving a $50,000 dollar grant to the state to help fight the opioid addiction crisis.
The money is going to an organization called Accelerate Indiana Municipalities. AIM will use the money to create a new program that provides targeted community grants to individual municipalities across Indiana.
"It's another way of collaborating, bringing people together for a common goal,” said Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski. The announcement of the grant was made on Thursday at Lafayette City Hall.
Representatives from Lafayette’s recovery community, government leaders, Lafayette Police, West Lafayette Police, Purdue Police, and the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s office all attended the reveal. Mayor Roswarski said this shows the amount of people coming together from different backgrounds who want to see change.
"We care about the people of Indiana,” he said. “We care that you've lost loved ones and we're doing everything we can to try and prevent that from happening from anyone else."
The money will be used to fund educational programs about opioid addiction. However, RALI is also putting resources into another side of the problem.
A big fuel to the flame of the opioid epidemic is people getting addicted on leftover pain pills. And with only a few events each year where you can go to a location to properly dispose of excess prescription painkillers, they wanted to look for a way to make this process more convenient.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy now recognizes a drug deactivation system called Deterra. People can put up to 45 pills into the Deterra pouch, fill it with warm water, and then the pills dissolve. The pouch is made of biodegradable material so it’s environmentally friendly to throw away.
RALI of Indiana is helping to sponsor 20,000 of these pouches to be distributed across the state.
According to recent numbers from ONDCP, 46 people die each day from prescription overdose in the U.S. Three out of four people reported that their first opioid was a prescription drug,
And 70% of prescriptions remain unused and available for abuse.
Mayor Roswarski emphasized in his opening remarks at the reveal that this overdose crisi doesn’t discriminate.
"We understand the pain because all of us know people that have been affected,” he said.
Jim McClelland is the state's Executive Director for Drug Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement. He is hoping this grant will bring the number of Hoosiers dying from drug overdoses down.
"What we need to be doing is helping to prevent other people from developing substance use disorders," he said.
McClelland said that Governor Eric Holcomb is calling for an all-hands-on-deck approach to this crisis. He shared some of his goals for 2019.
He wants to see an increase in timely access to medication assisted treatment, to provide more support for developing more recovery housing around the state, and to support pilot medication assisted treatment programs in some of Indiana’s county jails.
While he said they have made progress in 2018, and especially with the addition of this grant, but also that now is not the time to start relaxing.
"We need to pick up the pace wherever we can and keep building positive momentum and we'll end this crisis in a lot less time than it took to create it," he said.