Indiana is in the midst of a drug epidemic. As the crisis continues to grow, Hoosiers across the state are suffering from substance use disorders and dying from drug overdoses. According to the Indiana University website, nearly 1 in 12 people in Indiana have a substance use disorder. In 2019, overdose deaths increased in Indiana by 6% and by an additional 7% in the first two months of 2020. This increase is attributed in part to the hardships and isolation brought on by the COVID pandemic.
More Supporting Data
Several additional statistics related to the pandemic include the following:
- As of August 2020, preliminary data in Indiana show a 79 percent increase in overdose-related emergency department visits.
- Emergency Medical Services administration of naloxone increased by 63 percent in 2020.
- Indiana’s 211 Crisis Counseling Hotline showed an increase from approximately 2,000 calls a day in the early part of 2020 to 25,000 calls a day. The calls were related to mental health concerns, substance use disorders, and suicidal ideation.
Indiana Drug Use Trends
The following data comes from the Indiana Drug Fact Sheets created in 2016 by the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health.
Prescription Drug Abuse
The abuse of prescription medication is a growing problem in Indiana. When a drug is taken exactly as prescribed by a physician, there is less chance of addiction developing. But if the medication is abused, there is a high risk of addiction. It is even possible to develop a physical dependence to opioid painkillers when the doctor’s directions are followed, especially if the medication was prescribed for three weeks or more.
The three types of prescription medications commonly abused are:
- Pain relievers – opioids
- Central nervous system depressants – tranquilizers, sedatives, and hypnotics
- Stimulants – used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and weight loss
In 2016, more than eleven million prescriptions were written for controlled substances in Indiana. More than half of these prescriptions were for opioids.
In Indiana and the nation, the most commonly used illicit drug is marijuana. Although many people think there is no danger to using marijuana, the drug can have many harmful effects, such as an increased risk of heart attack, respiratory illnesses, and cancer. In 2016, 20.8 percent of people admitted to a hospital reported marijuana use. That is much higher than the national average of 15.2 percent. The highest rate of marijuana use is in Hoosiers aged 18 to 25 (20.7%).
The most frequently used drug in Indiana and the United States is alcohol. It is estimated that 5.9 percent of Hoosiers have an addiction to alcohol. The highest rate, 12.5%, is among 18 to 25 year olds. In the fifteen years from 2000 through 2015, Indiana lost 6,571 people from alcohol-related causes. In 2015, 8,642 vehicle collisions in Indiana were alcohol-related.
Polysubstance abuse is a serious and potentially deadly pattern of drug use. It involves taking two or more drugs together. In Indiana, marijuana and alcohol are the two substances most commonly used together. Two other popular polysubstance combinations are marijuana and some other drug; and alcohol, marijuana, and some other drug. In 2016, 62.8% of people in Indiana drug treatment reported polysubstance abuse. That is significantly higher than the rest of the country, which is 54.3%.
In addition to the drugs mentioned, the Indiana drug crisis involves other substances such as heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and inhalants.
Do You Need Help?
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you are not alone. Located in Terre Haute, Indiana, Anabranch Recovery Center provides medically supervised detoxification and rehabilitation treatment programs to adults with substance use disorders. Our highly trained, professional staff will create a personalized treatment plan for you. Your treatment, combined with our evidence-based MAAEZ program, will give you the tools you need to live a sober life.
About the Author:
Terry Hurley is a retired educational professional and freelance writer with more than fifty years of experience. A former reading specialist and learning center director, Terry loved her years working with children in the educational field. She has written extensively for print and online publications specializing in education and health issues. For the last six years, her writing focus has been on addiction and mental health issues.