SCOTT COUNTY, Ind. (WDRB) -- A southern Indiana community hit hard by the opioid crisis hopes President Donald Trump declaring the opioid crisis as a “Public Health Emergency” will lead to more services to treat addiction.

“We’ve been living the opioid crisis for a long time, but especially the last three years,” said Patti Hall, Preparedness Coordinator for the Scott County Health Department.

After a major HIV outbreak a few years ago, Scott County created new programs aimed at fighting addiction, but the problem has not disappeared.

“It is a national crisis, but as every crisis goes, it begins on the local level,” Hall said.

Hall sees a need for additional Medicaid dollars to get addicts into treatment and hopes the declaration will have an impact.

“Hopefully it will free up some additional funding that can assist with getting more beds for people into rehab," Hall said.

The department helps guide people into treatment program to receive more extension care.

“Our crisis begins with having the beds, having the opportunity for people to go into rehab immediately," Hall said. "Waiting six weeks to get into rehab, get into some kind of treatment, does not do any good,” Hall said.

The Scott County Health Department says it makes contact with 60 to 100 addicts on an average week through its needle exchange program.

“Even though it’s controversial, it is a way to reach people and then after a time they are very approachable, very reachable, wanting to seek additional assistance,” Hall said.

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