Indiana Receives Federal Money To Fight Opioid Abuse

Mar 23, 2016

Credit File

Four Indiana health centers will receive more than one-and-a-half million dollars in federal funding to address heroin and opioid abuse.

It’s part of a $95-million initiative from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Julia Wernz is the Director of Behavioral Health at Valley Professionals Community Health Center near Terre Haute, which is getting 406-thousand dollars.

She says the HHS giving money specifically to community health centers makes sense because health centers offer treatment to underserved and financially troubled individuals. And she says in order to be federally recognized, they have to offer behavioral and mental health treatment, too.

"Most of the time when patients develop a substance abuse disorder there is some behavioral health diagnosis," Wernz says.

Indiana Rural Health Association Director Don Kelso says the HHS sent the funding to more densely-populated places so it reaches the largest number of people.

But he is concerned about the lack of attention given to rural areas in the southern part of the state, where opioid use in areas such as Scott County has received national attention.

"All the two, two-and-a-half million people south of Interstate 70, where Scott County is, are not going to benefit from this funding," Kelso says.

In addition to Valley Health, centers in Goshen, Muncie and Indianapolis all received anywhere from 325-thousand to 406-thousand dollars.

Last month, Attorney General Greg Zoeller traveled to Washington to advocate for an increase in federal funding for addiction treatment programs, saying the number of people affected in Indiana is, in his words, “beyond our capacity to address.”