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Plan to curb opioid epidemic "not good enough" according to focus group

Some Hoosiers say the governor's plan to fight the opioid epidemic is not good enough.

Posted: Jan. 11, 2018 10:57 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Some Hoosiers say the governor's plan to fight the opioid epidemic is not good enough.

News 10 told you about what Republican Governor Eric Holcomb calls a "balanced approach" with a focus on prevention, treatment and enforcement.

Members of a special focus group who gathered at WTHI to watch the address earlier this week say some steps do not go far enough.

The plan includes increasing the number of treatment facilities statewide from 18 to 27. Governor Holcomb says this will mean no Hoosier will have to drive more than an hour for help.

Missy Burton says, "If they're trying to maintain their own recovery, they're trying to work and to seek other kinds of treatment they're going to need, that hour away could be the difference between being successful and not."

Others agree it is not good enough. They'd like to see more options so families can stay together.

Kristi Cundiff says, "I think children are a big motivator for them and so they can encompass the entire family and so then we're not separating mom from child."

The governor wants to require doctors use a monitoring system to prevent over-prescribing drugs to patients.

Some agree that is a good step but wonder what impact it will have on doctors. They also question if more regulations will make it harder for patients to get the care they need.

Holcomb's final point is enforcement. He says anyone caught dealing drugs resulting in someone's death will go to jail for a long time.

Dwayne Malone says, "I don't think his statement, that was the right statement to make. We need to offer these people some help."

Others say it could be difficult to prove drug dealers are at fault.

Burton says, "I do believe they need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law but I feel like that it's going to be a fight to prove that that particular person who manufactured that particular drug was the one responsible for that individuals death."

You'll hear more from the focus group one more time Friday night. This time they'll talk about changes within the Indiana Department of Child Services and their overall impressions of the governor's leadership.

For more on what the group had to say about jobs and the economy click here.

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