Indy’s southwest side fights back against drug crisis as overdoses increase

DECATUR TOWNSHIP, Ind. — Indianapolis’ southwest side is trying to fight back against the drug crisis, as it sees overdoses increasing.

Now, community leaders are turning to the public to help keep drugs out of the hands of adults and kids.

“We tell them to run, we do the best we can at providing preventative education,” Decatur Township schools resource officer Chase Lyday said.

Inside the halls of the schools, Lyday is trying to keep the drug crisis at bay. He said a survey of the high school’s students reveals about 30 percent of students said they have a friend that has used prescription drugs and about 38 percent said they have a friend that has used marijuana.

“They’re not experimenting with the hard stuff but they are with marijuana and prescription drugs that would lead to more serious drugs,” Lyday said.

Serious drugs in the community are a problem, though.

“It’s huge and the community is outraged and they’re tired of it,” said Tina Graham, the crime watch captain for Mars Hill.

Thursday night the Decatur Township Drug Free Coalition brought the community together for a drug prevention town hall. It was a chance to share efforts and ask residents to help.

“In our district, the southwest district, overdose reports are up almost 64 percent so we’re very concerned about that, and we want to do everything we can not to just respond to the problem but to get in front of it,” IMPD Southwest District Commander Mike Spears said.

The problem is not one youth are immune from.

The Decatur Township Fire Department said since 2013, it’s used Narcan at least 48 times on people under age 18. But for some it’s about a lot more than numbers.

“That’s really personal for those here in the community because there have been so many folks that we’ve lost to overdoses,” Lyday said.

The coalition is seeking a federal grant to help in its efforts. Lyday said it’s also planning a door-to-door campaign.

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