Letter: Indiana lawmakers should embrace comprehensive addiction services

From: Suzanne Koesel, chief executive officer for  Centerstone Indiana


In 2017, 1,700 Hoosiers died from a drug overdose, an all-time high and a 75-percent increase since 2011. In the past several years, state and national leaders have launched many initiatives aimed at improving and expanding access to care.

Still we must ask ourselves, “What will it take to prevent any more Hoosiers from dying from substance use disorder (SUD)?” The addictions crisis is sweeping through Indiana, devastating communities and families across all socioeconomic backgrounds and every corner of the state.

This epidemic knows no boundaries, which is why we must seriously consider a comprehensive approach through new state legislation to best serve the thousands of Hoosiers battling addiction.

Earlier this month, Senate Bill 33, a bill authored by state Sen. Jim Merritt, was introduced to establish three Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Centers across the state. Modeled after a new federal program recently signed into law, the legislation will foster certified treatment centers offering the full range of person-centered, SUD treatment — detoxification, relapse prevention, counseling and recovery services and peer supports, and all FDA-approved medication assisted treatments — to generate meaningful, data-driven and sustainable outcomes.

Currently in Indiana, there is a disparity in the number of providers offering more than one medication to patients seeking treatment for substance-use disorder. Of those clinics offering medication-assisted treatment, only 16 percent of providers offer both buprenorphine and naltrexone (opioid addiction treatment medications). Also concerning, some centers offering medical treatment do not offer accompanying behavioral treatment, which has been proven to result in significantly better outcomes. We must do better.

At Centerstone, a not-for-profit health care organization that provides mental health care, addiction treatment and community education, many of our centers across the U.S. — including all of our sites in Indiana — have implemented an integrated addictions model. Because addiction treatment is not one-size-fits-all, this model creates personalized treatments to improve individuals’ recovery capital, tools and resources that are key to long-term success, including community collaboration to ensure a fully comprehensive recovery program.

SB 33, like Centerstone’s Integrated Addictions Care Model, creates a standard of care that puts the patient first in order to get more people to recovery faster. We know this kind of care works because we’ve seen people at their darkest moments; parents who have lost the ability to see their children, reunited; and workers who have lost their jobs, rebuild their careers. Over and over again, we’ve seen that comprehensive, patient-centered care can changes lives.

Yet, despite the growing impact of addiction in our communities, it’s shocking that so few people today have access to evidence based treatment. For example, only 41 percent of treatment programs in the U.S. offer at least one type of medication and less than three percent offer all three options. If we want patients to have sustainable success through treatment programs, we must treat each person based on his or her individual needs. Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Centers will help ensure Hoosiers have access to client-centered, personalized treatment that is right for them.