Jurisdiction: State of Indiana, population 6,732,219
Indiana continues to be one of the states most heavily impacted by the opioid epidemic. According to the most recent nationally available data, in 2018 Indiana was among the 20 states with the highest age-adjusted drug overdose death rates; in 2019, fatal overdoses increased by 4.2 percent over 2018, with a rate of 26.6 deaths per 100,000 population—and an even higher increase was seen the following year. Preliminary 2020 data (from January to June) showed that emergency room visits due to opioid overdoses had increased by 52.7 percent from 2019.
The state’s Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force, created in 2012, works to promote safe disposal practices by setting up drug take-back locations across Indiana, among its other efforts. In addition, law enforcement agencies and other organizations participate in national take-back days. But while these efforts have made a significant positive impact, much remains to be done: research has shown that unwanted prescription medications are often diverted and misused.
The Indiana Department of Health will take a multiprong approach to drug disposal, utilizing both short- and long-term solutions, with the support of the Indiana State Police. The department will purchase 10 drug disposal kiosks, 100 drug disposal liners, and 9,121 mail-back envelopes for distribution to first responders and local health departments, as well as to 16 high-needs counties involved in the Indiana Communities for Advancing Recovery Efforts (IN CAREs) Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) project.