Indiana could receive federal funds to fight drug epidemic

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- President Barack Obama is urging members of Congress to approve $1.1 billion to fight drug abuse and addiction nationwide. In Indiana, we could see $19 million those funds.

In a press call Friday, national drug control advisers stated Indiana is just one of many states slated to potentially receive funds to combat addition. The focus of national leaders is drug treatment and prevention programs, although it will likely be up to the state to determine exactly what programs will be implemented.

“It will go a long way to addressing a whole host of issues and long standing issues," explained Director of National Drug Control, Michael Botticelli.

Many communities in central Indiana are struggling with a heroin and prescription drug abuse epidemic.  Families are forced to drive long distances to bring their loved ones to treatment programs. In Delaware County, there are very few drug treatment centers and even those facilities often don't have beds open for patients who need immediate treatment.

"When you get a heroin addict and they’re ready for treatment, you need to get a bed right now. You wait three or four days and that motivation may not be there," said Delaware County Prosecutor Jeff Arnold.

Arnold said while the funds are a good start, a strong focus needs to be on early education of drug abuse and to ensure kids and teens understand how serious and deadly the problem is.

"It has to be early education and a lot of it. Not high school, but I'm talking grade school. There has to be an attitude shift," said Arnold.

There's still questions about what "up to" $19 million in funding means for Indiana and how the state can secure all of those funds. Requests for additional questions about the funds were not immediately returned by White House staff.

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