Responding to the Addictions Crisis

Indiana and the nation face a crisis in the unprecedented incidence of addictions due to substance use disorders (SUD). The harmful and significant negative impact to the health of Hoosiers is seen in lives lost to overdose deaths, shattered communities, new clusters of infectious disease, more children needing foster care, and threats to Indiana’s economic vitality. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that in 2014, almost 2 million Americans abused or were dependent on opioids. Fatal drug overdoses in Indiana increased by 150% between 2005 and 2016; fatal opioid overdoses increased by 400% in that same period. The costs in healthcare, lost workplace productivity, and criminal justice outpace 1000-fold the investments directed to solving the opioid addiction crisis. The scale and complexity of the problem requires solutions that go beyond immediate clinical or criminal justice responses to address all facets of the problem, such as the social and environmental factors that increase the incidence of addiction as well as intervention responses (harm reduction, treatment, criminal justice) for those with substance use disorders. As recognized by Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb, the complexity and scope of the problem require that all sectors come together to address all aspects of addiction. Preventing, treating, and ending addictions in Indiana necessitates that local communities, state agencies, lawmakers, private industry, healthcare, community and nongovernmental organizations, and research universities each have a crucial role. For these reasons, IU President Michael McRobbie announced in October IU’s partnership with the state, IU Health, Eskenazi Health, and other partners to undertake a Grand Challenge, “Responding to the Addiction Crisis.”

With our partners, we will:

  • Reduce the incidence of Substance Use Disorder,
  • Decrease the number of opioid overdose fatalities, and
  • Reduce the number of babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.