13 Investigates reveals drug plan and counties to get new treatment centers

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) -- The faces of the heroin and opioid addiction in Indiana include the young, middle to upper class and suburban. That's why Indiana's Commission on Drug Abuse unanimously approved a new plan to address the dangerous drugs.

The commission was created by Governor Eric Holcomb with a goal of saving lives and adding more treatment centers. Another key is getting Medicaid to pay for medication used in treatment.

As early as four in the morning, mothers, fathers, the young and not so young try to get in when the doors open at the Indianapolis Comprehensive Treatment Center (CTC). Many are getting their daily dose of Methadone or Suboxone before heading to work.

"I actually did Methadone while I was up here in Indianapolis for about two years, and it was horrible," said Sean Ryan, a 27 year old recovered addict.

13 Investigates has learned the wait is about to get longer in a city with just two centers providing medically assisted treatment for opioid addiction. The Indianapolis CTC will push its opening time to 6 a.m. beginning in July. Patients who contacted 13 Investigates are concerned about access.

13 Investigates reached out to the Indianapolis CTC about its change in hours and concern from those receiving treatment. While Steve Johnson, the Executive Director, told us about the program, he did not respond to our specific questions.

Indianapolis Comprehensive Treatment Center has been providing substance abuse treatment services in Indianapolis since the early 1990's. We are a comprehensive treatment center treating any substance use related disorder and specializing in the treatment of opioid use disorders. Our programs include services such as individual counseling where patients meet with a counselor one on one. We offer more than 50 opportunities for group therapy on a weekly basis. A variety of topics are covered in our group therapy sessions; we have groups related to recovery from substance use as well as self-care, finances, art therapy, grief and loss, and many more available. We also offer medication assisted treatment services utilizing medications including Methadone Hydrochloride, Buprenorphine, and Vivatrol to assist in the treatment of opioid use disorders. Medication assisted treatment is an evidence based approach to treat persons diagnosed with an opioid use disorder. Research has shown that patients that are in medication assisted treatment show an increase in employment, health, and social functioning as well as a decrease in the rate of criminal activity, illicit use of substances, homelessness, overdose, and death.

There is only one other treatment center in Indianapolis, Midtown.

Ryan now works in addiction outreach at a different center. He remembers what it's like to be on the other side.

"I definitely understand. I remember having to drive a half an hour, waiting in line, and then trying to get back on to my routine," he told 13 Investigates.

Governor Holcomb's new "drug czar," Jim McClelland, said getting treatment for opioid addiction shouldn't be so difficult.

"We've got some huge gaps in that area too. Particularly geographically," admitted McClelland, the Executive Director for Drug Treatment, Prevention and Enforcement in Indiana.

Thursday, McClelland outlined his plan to help Indiana address its opioid epidemic. Treatment options are at the top of the list. Indiana lawmakers struck down a long-standing moratorium, paving the way.

13 Investigates has learned five new centers will be added in Tippecanoe, Allen, Johnson, Monroe and Vigo Counties, and will be associated with either a community mental health center or hospital.

The Johnson and Vigo County locations could help ease the burden here in Indianapolis.

"I can tell you that there are treatment center providers that do want to expand. There are some that they're ready," said McClelland.

The State has also received a $10.9 million dollar grant, $7.6 million of which will pay for up to 75 recovery facility beds.

At the same time, Indiana is seeking out Medicaid funds to help pay for drugs like Suboxone and Vivitrol for patients who need it. And the state will expand its use of the "overdose reversal" drug Naloxone.

Here in Indiana, Narcan is the brand police use. It's what saved Samantha Siegle's life more than once before she got clean.

"It's a great thing to have these available. This problem is not getting any smaller," said Siegle, who once faced 13 years in prison for narcotics possession.

It was in prison that she got involved with a program called "Freedom 101." She says that program turned her life around.

Indiana currently has 13 drug treatment centers across the state. They are located in the following cities:

  • Charlestown
  • Evansville
  • Fort Wayne
  • Gary (2)
  • Indianapolis (2)
  • Lawrenceburg
  • Marion
  • Merrillville
  • Richmond
  • South Bend
  • Valparaiso
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