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Drug Abuse Advocacy Group Responds To President’s SOTU

President Obama delivers his eighth and final State of the Union address Tuesday night.

In his final State of the Union address last night, President Obama touched on issues ranging from terrorist threats to new education policies.

At the beginning of his speech, the President addressed an issue that’s especially relevant to Hoosiers today.

"I hope we can work together this year on bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform, and helping people who are battling prescription drug abuse," Obama said. "We just might surprise the cynics again."

Indiana is currently facing a prescription drug abuse epidemic. Randy Miller is executive director of Drug Free Marion County, a drug abuse prevention and advocacy group. He says he’s encouraged by the president’s desire to reach across the aisle because ultimately, this problem goes beyond party lines.

“Drug abuse in general should be a bipartisan issue," he says. "It doesn’t have any reason it should be more republican or more democrat. It affects everybody equally.”

Republican State Senator Jim Merritt echoes these sentiments. He's introducing several bills this legislative session to address both drug abuse and addiction treatment.

"We just need more tools and more treatment and recovery clinics," he says. "I think it’s a lot less expensive to treat someone than to incarcerate them."

For now, Senator Merritt says that seeing addiction as a disease, not a character flaw, will be key to establishing further action.

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