An audience of 300 people turned out for the Oct. 26 Desperate Households program organized by the Bartholomew County Substance Abuse Council.
The sizable crowd is an indicator that people are understanding how big the problem of drug addiction in the community has become, and are looking for answers how the tide can be turned.
Some of the information shared served as an eye opener for those who attended. Consider that:
The Bartholomew County Emergency Operations Center received 140 overdose calls through Oct. 27 — more than any of the previous seven year- end totals.
Overdose calls in the county have increased almost every year since 2009.
Nine people in Bartholomew County have died from heroin overdoses so far this year — the same amount for all of the past three years combined.
The United States, with 4.6 percent of the global population, consumes about 66 percent of the world’s illegal drugs, 80 percent of the world’s opioid analgesics and 99 percent of the world’s hydrocodone.
Presenters also said that drugs prescribed for pain can serve as gateway to heroin and other drug abuse. Methamphetamine continues to be a big problem in Bartholomew County, too.
Combined, all that information paints a troubling picture, and not just locally. It also has left some local residents conflicted about reviving drug overdose victims multiple times with the antidote naloxone. The trends demonstrate how strong of a grip drugs can have on people, and how difficult it can be to break addiction without help.
People’s lives matter, and no dead person can be revived and possibly rehabilitated. Consider what you’d want emergency responders to do if it was your loved one who overdosed.
The problem of drug addiction — locally, statewide and nationally — should make it clear that more treatment programs are needed to help addicts kick their habits. Jail time alone hasn’t been effective in breaking the cycle of addiction.
Drug addiction has become a major concern for government officials, law enforcement and health care providers on the local, state and national levels. The difficult next step is coming up with, and funding, programs that stem the tide of drug addiction.