Reports: Opioids, tobacco caused 14K Indiana deaths in 2017

Opioids and tobacco claimed the lives of 14,200 Indiana residents last year, costing the state $12.6 billion in health care expenses, lost productivity and other economic damages, two new reports say.

Posted: Nov 5, 2018 3:46 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Opioids and tobacco claimed the lives of 14,200 Indiana residents last year, costing the state $12.6 billion in health care expenses, lost productivity and other economic damages, two new reports say.

The studies released last week by the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation recommend that Indiana raise the state’s cigarette tax by $2 a pack and increase the legal smoking age to 21. The Indianapolis-based foundation, which provides grants to improve Hoosiers’ well-being through education and tobacco and opioid addiction efforts, also recommends in the reports expanding access to syringe exchanges and safe disposal sites for opioids.

The findings come about a month after the state’s drug czar, Jim McClelland, said Indiana’s opioid epidemic was showing signs of turning the corner. McClelland said visits to emergency rooms for drug overdoses have fallen and doctors are writing fewer prescriptions for opioid painkillers.

The foundation’s president and CEO, Claire Fiddian-Green, said meaningful action has been taken to confront both the opioid epidemic and tobacco use across Indiana, but warned that the new reports show that “we still have tremendous unfinished business.”

“These two addiction challenges are root causes of Indiana’s poor health outcomes and burdensome health care costs,” she said.

Earlier this year, Republican leaders in the Indiana House earlier blocked a bill that proposed increasing the legal age for buying tobacco products from 18 to 21. Proposals for a $1-per-pack increase in Indiana’s current 99-cent cigarette tax cleared the House last year and in 2016, but failed to win approval in the Senate.

No action was taken on the issue in the 2018 legislative session.

The reports acknowledge that Indiana has seen a steep decline since 2011 in fatal overdoses involving prescription opioids, but notes that there’s been a rapid rise in the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

Smoking and second hand smoke cause a total of 12,500 deaths in Indiana each year, according to one of the reports.

The two studies found that businesses lose about $2.8 billion per year in productivity due to tobacco use, while Indiana families face a combined $1,125 per household in additional state and federal taxes to cover health care costs for tobacco use.

Kevin Brinegar, president and CEO of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, said Indiana needs to take action to address the opioid and tobacco epidemics because they “threaten the physical health of our state, the quality of life for all Hoosiers and our shared economic prosperity.”

“Adopting proven policies to address these twin crises would preserve thousands of lives, save taxpayers money and position our state as a more attractive location for companies and employees.”

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 33068

Reported Deaths: 2068
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9524558
Lake3494175
Cass15897
Allen141966
St. Joseph122134
Hendricks114268
Hamilton113292
Elkhart110128
Johnson1092106
Madison58459
Porter50522
Bartholomew49034
Clark47941
LaPorte42022
Tippecanoe3823
Howard37824
Delaware37636
Jackson3721
Shelby36822
Hancock32727
Floyd31739
Boone30535
Morgan27724
Vanderburgh2592
Montgomery23417
White2308
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Noble20421
Grant19721
Dubois1903
Harrison18921
Henry16910
Greene16824
Monroe16512
Warrick16528
Dearborn16521
Vigo1538
Lawrence15223
Miami1401
Putnam1357
Jennings1294
Orange12422
Scott1203
Ripley1106
Franklin1098
Kosciusko1011
Carroll933
Daviess8416
Steuben812
Marshall801
Newton7610
Wayne756
Fayette747
Wabash742
LaGrange682
Jasper661
Washington511
Jay490
Fulton471
Clay461
Rush452
Randolph453
Jefferson431
Pulaski410
Whitley383
Owen351
Sullivan341
DeKalb331
Brown331
Starke323
Perry280
Wells270
Benton260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton241
Crawford230
Blackford222
Parke190
Spencer191
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Posey160
Gibson142
Adams131
Ohio130
Warren121
Vermillion100
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0161

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 115833

Reported Deaths: 5186
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook753063519
Lake7933281
DuPage7460350
Kane6083167
Will5356268
Winnebago209153
McHenry148870
St. Clair105077
Kankakee83644
Kendall75119
Rock Island63923
Champaign5957
Madison54557
Boone42416
DeKalb3704
Sangamon34328
Randolph2674
Jackson25610
McLean21613
Ogle2002
Stephenson1992
Macon19219
Peoria1918
Out of IL1831
Clinton18017
Union1519
Unassigned1490
LaSalle14113
Whiteside13412
Iroquois1314
Coles12313
Warren1130
Jefferson10116
Knox960
Grundy952
Monroe9311
McDonough847
Lee791
Tazewell704
Cass690
Henry670
Williamson602
Marion500
Jasper457
Adams441
Macoupin442
Perry410
Pulaski410
Montgomery391
Vermilion381
Morgan341
Christian334
Jo Daviess320
Livingston322
Douglas260
Fayette203
Ford201
Jersey201
Menard190
Mason180
Washington180
Woodford182
Hancock160
Mercer160
Shelby161
Bureau151
Carroll142
Bond121
Franklin120
Piatt120
Schuyler120
Clark110
Crawford110
Fulton110
Brown100
Cumberland100
Logan100
Moultrie100
Wayne91
Alexander80
Henderson80
Johnson70
Massac70
Saline70
Effingham61
Greene50
Marshall50
De Witt40
Lawrence40
Richland30
Stark30
Clay20
Edwards20
Gallatin20
Hamilton20
Wabash20
White20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pike10
Pope10
Putnam10
Edgar00
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