Responding to the Addictions Crisis

Addiction is devastating countless lives. The misuse of and addiction to heroin, prescription painkillers, methamphetamine and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl has created a national crisis affecting millions of Americans. 

Recovering from this crisis is not an easy path, but as a state, Indiana is not standing idle. Many partners have joined together to respond to the rising problems associated with addiction. Indiana state government has launched programs to support its citizens and many organizations are dedicating time and resources to ensure communities get the help they need. At Indiana University, we are leveraging the strengths of our seven campuses and creating partnerships throughout the state to lead one of the nation's largest and most comprehensive state-based responses to the addiction crisis. By working together, addiction will no longer control the lives of too many Hoosiers.

Making a difference

IU researchers remain committed to helping advance the fight against substance use disorders on behalf of Hoosiers and their families.

Read about the progress of the Grand Challenge

Preparing for the future

Upcoming workshops helps students across multiple areas of study to learn how to recognize and respond to opioid and substance use disorder. 

Learn more about the workshops

Fighting against stigma

A study by Brea Perry finds meaningful social contact with people who have experienced addiction can reduce prejudice and discrimination.

Read more about the study

Prevention measures

IU's Tamika Zapolski is partnering with community schools to provide a drug prevention program aimed for at-risk students.

Read how the project is working

COVID-19 impact on substance abuse disorder

As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 virus, people with substance use disorder are at particular risk of being affected by interruptions in medical care and challenges associated with isolation and social distancing. Researchers at IU remain committed to addressing the addictions crisis that continues to take place throughout the state and to finding ways to address the needs of those coping with SUD during the pandemic.

More information on the work IU is doing related to COVID-19 is available online. 

See below for more resources related to substance use and COVID-19.

Turning to alcohol

A study by Hank Green shows alcohol use and frequency grew amidst COVID-19 Pandemic

Read more about the study


Recovery during a pandemic

Melissa Cyders and colleagues from IU Southeast and IU South Bend are looking at how people with substance use disorder are impacted by COVID-19.

Read about the study

Access to services

Zachary Adams is studying the emotional and behavioral impact of the pandemic on young people and how to best connect them with needed mental health services.

Read how

Confronting the addiction crisis alongside 130 partners throughout Indiana

Use the map below to learn more about our partnerships throughout the state.

Expanding Clinical Training

Conducting Public Health Research & Developing Policy Recommendations

Improving Access to Prevention, Treatment & Recovery Services

Partnering with Harm Reduction Organizations

View text alternative of map information

Changing the Conversation

Stigma can be one of the primary barriers to overcoming substance use disorder, preventing people from seeking the treatment and support needed to overcome the disease. People in recovery and professionals in the field talk about the ways stigma can serve as a barrier to treatment.

Description of the video:

*Music Begins*

[Video: IU Grand Challenge Responding to the Addictions Crisis logo appears]

Ryan Russel Speaks in Voiceover: "I had, had nothing in my life grab me like opiates. Addiction crosses every"

[Video: Ryan and Shawna Russel sitting in church pews speaking to camera corresponding to voiceover.]

[Video: B-roll of Shawna, Ryan, and Reverend Charlo Burrell in a meeting with other group members. Ryan and Shawna sitting in church pews speaking to camera corresponding to voiceover. Close-up b-roll of Charlo.]

Ryan Russel Speaks in Voiceover: "Addiction crosses every socio-economic, racial class, ethnic line that you could ever imagine. No matter where you are in life or who you are in life, whatever it may be could grab you before you know it."

Jessica Hawn Speaks in voiceover: "I struggled with a little bit of postpartum depression when my daughter was born. I was put on nerve pills. it didn't take very long and I was taking them more than what I was supposed to and then eventually stronger pain pills, stronger pain pills, which led to heroin. I didn't just wake up one morning and say, okay I'm gonna ruin the rest of my life today."

[Video: Jessica sitting in home speaking to camera corresponding to voiceover. B-roll of Jessica doing dishes. Jessica sitting in home speaking to camera corresponding to voiceover. B-roll of Jessica looking out window then looks into camera.]

Josh Graves Speaks in Voiceover: "It hurts when you know what you've been through and people still call you worthless. You're just a junkie, you're better off dead. I know that I've done a lot of bad things, but it also kept me away from wanting to try to better myself."

[Video: B-roll of Josh driving, walking into Safe Haven Recovery Management Center. Josh talking to camera corresponding to voice over. B-roll of Josh in his office on his computer at Safe Haven.]

Brea Perry Speaks in Voiceover: "Stigma is defined as a deeply discrediting attribute. And the process of stigmatization is a social one where people who have a particular condition are devalued. Stigma is a major barrier to treatment seeking there's the shame and the secrecy which causes people to not seek treatment when they need it."

[Video: Brea speaking to camera corresponding to voiceover. B-roll of Josh meeting with someone at Safe Haven.]

Reverend Charlo Burrell Speaks in Voiceover: "I've been sober since May the 15th of 1998. I'm a licensed addiction counselor also. Society labels alcoholics or addicts as these voodoo types of people it's the stigma that goes along with it. When I became educated about it, it took away from me that I was a failure. It's not one person, not one, that I can meet that I don't believe that can have a chance."

[Video: B-roll of Charlo in his office at the Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. B-roll of Charlo with others in a meeting in the church. Charlo sitting in church pews talking to camera corresponding to voiceover. B-roll of group members meeting in church.]

[Video: Indiana University logo fades in and then fades to black]

*Music ends*

About Grand Challenges

We’re tackling large-scale, complex problems that require collaboration across disciplines, industries, and communities. Our success will be measured by the tangible impact our programs have on the lives of Hoosiers.

Launched in 2017, Responding to the Addictions Crisis is the newest initiative of Indiana University’s Grand Challenges program aimed at solving some of the most difficult challenges facing Indiana.

Learn more