TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WAWV/WTWO) – According to the Centers for Disease Control, Indiana has seen a 22% increase in drug overdose deaths between October 2020 and October 2021.
The Indiana Department of Health said more naloxone distribution programs are in the process of being implemented. Naloxone is the medication that reverses the effect of an overdose.
Executive Director and Founder of Overdose Lifeline Justin Phillips said isolation from the pandemic seems to be a common factor to recent overdose deaths.
“Until recently people have not been to large public spaces with large public groups,” said Phillips. “Recovery is about community and connection.”
Wabash Valley Recovery Center Peer Recovery Coach Shawn Penderraf agrees.
“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety it’s connections,” Penderraf said.
Phillips said many recovering addict’s relapsed during the pandemic, as they relied on drug use and abuse as an old coping tactic.
“They believe old coping tactics work but they don’t work,” Phillips said. “Substance use is fairly easy for individuals to pick up and do again.”
Phillips said Governor Erik Holcomb’s made initiatives to make naloxone available throughout the state in a variety of ways.
“We have 80+ local on the ground distributors as well as naloxone boxes across the state where you can go and get naloxone,” said Phillips. “Right now we are probably distributing 3,000 doses a week.”
Penderraf said it’s important that the community realizes that there is future past addiction.
“There is hope in recovery,” said Penderraf. “I’m a firm believer that the united effort we make is greater than the devastation.”
For information on resources in your community you can go to in.gov/health.