IU researchers looking at public policy and its impact on the opioid crisis
A large response to the opioid crisis in Indiana has come from the implementation and enforcement of policies and laws related to mental health and addiction, criminal justice, health care access, education, public safety and community engagement.
But those informing and sometimes implementing this response come from varying backgrounds both professional— such as criminal justice, public health, law, non-governmental organizations, education and research — and personal. These varying perspectives affect the way those involved define, identify and prioritize problems associated with the opioid epidemic, as well as how they identify success.
Nicolas Terry, Hall Render Professor of Law at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law at IUPUI, alongside Ross Silverman, a professor at the law school and the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI and Aila Hoss, visiting scholar at McKinney, is addressing this issue by bringing together original law and policy research, along with insights of key law and policy experts, to analyze and recommend law and policy interventions to help improve health outcomes of the state’s substance use crisis.
In 2018, the team released a series of policy recommendations to local, state and federal government officials. Recommendations included calling for broader and more robust harm-reduction strategies; programs to reduce the stigma of substance use disorder; the creation of broader drug take-back programs, and more expansive "wraparound services" such as job training or housing assistance to support those recovering from substance use disorder.
Strategies for implementing the recommendations included communities increasing the availability of the overdose-reversal drug naloxone; encouraging syringe exchange programs; investing in safe spaces as a route to treatment; improving Indiana’s Good Samaritan and drug paraphernalia laws; better coordination of federal privacy law; making it easier for those with substance use disorders to receive Medicaid services; investing in more, and better, evidence-based treatment services and making resources available to offer counseling, help those re-entering society, and care for children born with neonatal abstinence disease.