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Creating Healthy Families panel focuses on substance use disorder in women

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said it's an issue impacting life expectancies statewide.

INDIANAPOLIS — I was asked to emcee a panel and moderate a panel Tuesday that was hosted by Volunteers of America about substance use disorder in women. 

It is prevalent here in the state of Indiana and it impacts our families. 

In fact, about 70% of women who go into treatment for substance use disorder have children, and panelist and Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said it's an issue that is impacting life expectancies statewide.

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"I don't think anyone has a has a true understanding of the fact that our life expectancy in Indiana has been going down since 2010," Box said. "It's not our 65 and older, we're actually increasing their life expectancy. It's a life expectancy of our working age who shares our 24- to 65-year-old, 64-year-olds, that has been declining and that's mostly associated with mental health, substance use disorder and suicide."

Studies show that women who get treatment where they're able to live with their children fare better, and that's the premise of a Volunteers of America program called the Fresh Start Recovery Center. 

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There's more demand than available space at the recovery residence. They have secured funding to build here in the community, providing more assistance for families that are in need. 

The search for a location is underway.

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