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Advocates Lobby State Lawmakers For Public Health Solutions To Opioid Crisis

Advocates listen to a panel discussion at the statehouse Tuesday.

Dozens of activists lobbied at the statehouse to adopt a public health approach to the epidemic. (WTIU/WFIU News)

During a panel discussion at the statehouse Tuesday advocates discussed ways to change the narrative surrounding the opioid epidemic from the war on drugs to a public health crisis.

Overdose Lifeline founder and executive director Justin Phillips says the state has taken some steps in the right direction, just not enough.

"When we passed Aaron’s Law, which would be four years ago, this time, allowing for the access to the overdose reversal drug Nalaxone, we changed to a public health approach, so we’ve made some progress but we still have a very long way to go,” she says.

Philips joined representatives from Indiana Recovery Alliance, Indiana Minority Health Coalition, and Women4Change and dozens of activists to lobby lawmakers to adopt a public health approach to the epidemic.

She says the fact there are open discussions about how best to tackle the opioid epidemic shows some progress, but it doesn’t mean things are getting better.

“As a person who is boots on the ground, regularly having conversation with families who are still struggling with a loved one, I would not say it's better,” she says. 

Phillips lost her son, Aaron to a heroin overdose in October, 2013.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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