INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Hundreds of criminal justice professionals who attended a summit on Indiana’s growing opioid crisis heard a chilling 911 recording that captured the anguish resulting from the epidemic.
Marion Superior Court Judge William Nelson played the recording during Wednesday’s Opioid Summit in Indianapolis, where nearly 1,000 people listened to a woman wailing after telling a dispatcher she just found her 20-year-old son dead from an overdose.
Nelson then told the crowd that the man who died in 2009 was his stepson and that the epidemic is “a national health crisis that does not play favorites.”
“Let’s hear today how to treat substance abuse disorder, a chronic brain disease, not a crime,” Nelson said. “Maybe we can prevent one mother from making that call, in this seemingly endless battle.”
The summit is part of the state judicial branch’s pledge to help fight the state’s opioid problem. Each of Indiana’s 92 counties sent to the summit a team that includes judges, prosecutors, public defenders, chief probation officers law enforcement, child welfare workers, community leaders and medical professionals.
“This (summit) is a large step, I think, in that effort to make those in the state aware of the problem, and to bring them on board as best we can to help with the solutions,” said Larry Hesson, president of the Indiana Association of Counties.
About 100 people in Indiana die from drug overdoses every month, many from opioids like heroin and prescribed painkillers. Indiana has the 17th-highest rate of overdose deaths in the country but is one of the hardest states to find treatment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
State lawmakers in response have debated several bills during the recently concluded legislative session to reduce drug abuse and expand treatment. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed into law more than a dozen bills, some of which form mobile treatment teams and expand treatment specifically to pregnant women and mothers.
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