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IndyStar on 10/06/2018
When I relocated to Indiana to assume my role as chief medical officer at Fairbanks three years ago, I witnessed firsthand — on day one — the level of devastation the opioid crisis has inflicted on our communities.
Today, despite physicians’ best efforts, relentless news coverage, and the establishment of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Commission to Combat Drug Abuse, the opioid epidemic is getting worse in Indiana.
This illness does not only afflict those from lower socioeconomic classes. The patients I see range from all walks of life, from Yale to jail. The patients are more medically, psychiatrically and socially compromised than they were just a few years ago. And they are dying at alarming rates.
Drug overdose deaths have surged so dramatically that they now kill more Hoosiers than car crashes and gun homicides combined. They are up 500 percent since 1999. In the three years since I became a Hoosier, opioid overdose deaths have more than doubled.