INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
State officials unveiled a new tool Thursday that they believe will help
combat Indiana’s opioid epidemic by making it easier for addicts to get drug
The announcement by
Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration is their latest effort that seeks to
address an addiction crisis that “every day is destroying lives, devastating
families, and damaging communities,” said Jim McClelland, who is Holcomb’s
The tool, in this
case, is a software platform that will allow certified addiction treatment
providers to quickly locate and connect people with available inpatient or
residential treatment beds.
Addicts can also
seek a referral through the system by calling 211, a service that can
connect people with local resources.
epidemic has expanded, which has driven more children into foster care,
according to a recent analysis by the nonprofit Indiana Youth Institute.
Holcomb has said combating the crisis is a top priority.
advocated for more treatment locations, higher criminal penalties for drug
dealers and an expanded system that monitors opioid prescriptions.
Indiana Family and
Social Services Administration Secretary Jennifer Walthall said the crisis
the state is experiencing is similar to a natural disaster in many ways.
“We need to have a
command center - to have a global and real-time assessments and resources
for individuals in their time of greatest need,” Walthall said.
She likened the new
software platform to such a command center.
Walthall said the
service is provided through a partnership between the state, the health
services software manager OpenBeds and the nonprofit organization Indiana
2-1-1. It’s being paid for with $10.9 million in federal funds that the
state received through the 21st Century Cures Act.
So far, about 50
health care providers have joined the platform and more are in the pipeline,
said Steve Carroll, the chief business development officer of OpenBeds.
emergency medicine physician at Eskenazi Hospital, said that the tool “is
not only good for patients but it’s also really good for the people at the
front line who are just trying to help.”