Gov. Pence announces plan to combat illegal drug use - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Gov. Pence announces plan to combat illegal drug use

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Thursday afternoon, Pence met with local leaders in law enforcement and healthcare to discuss what can be done to combat the growing drug problem in the Hoosier state. Thursday afternoon, Pence met with local leaders in law enforcement and healthcare to discuss what can be done to combat the growing drug problem in the Hoosier state.

SELLERSBURG, Ind. (WDRB) – Indiana governor Mike Pence has started a new initiative aimed at drug use enforcement, treatment and prevention.

Thursday afternoon, Pence met with local leaders in law enforcement and healthcare to discuss what can be done to combat the growing drug problem in the Hoosier state.

“There is treatment available,” Pence said on Thursday. “There are programs available and this task force is going to be looking everyday in the weeks and months ahead at ways we can make treatment more available and more accessible.”

Pence also spent time in Evansville earlier in the day Thursday discussing the same issue.

“I brought our team together and said its time for a fresh approach,” Pence said.

Local law enforcement leaders were included in the discussion as well.

“We're getting an overflow of a lot of what happened in Scott County especially with IV drug usage,” said Clark County sheriff Jamey Noel.

Noel says one of the largest problems facing Clark County with the drug problem is the spread of disease as a result of intravenous drug use.

“It's a nightmare, my entire medical budget is $300,000,” Noel said, “You get one patient with Hepatitis C or HIV, they're going to use my whole budget.”

Thursday's discussion had two major topics. One of them was centered on treatment and cost of prisoners. The other centered on penalties and how those might be adjusted.

“It's increasing the enforcement effort,” Noel Said. “Targeting the dealers, not the users, but the dealers. And getting those users, the addicts, some help.”

Some sheriffs told Pence that needle exchange programs, like the one established in Scott County after an outbreak of HIV, could help with treatment. Proponents of those exchanges say it allows for greater outreach to people who illegally use intravenous drugs. When asked about the possibility of more needle exchanges, Pence said he would not support their expansion.

“I don't support a needle exchange as anti-drug policy,” Pence said. “But I do believe where there is a public health emergency that there should be the broadest range of tactics available.”

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