Governor’s Task Force to Combat Drug Abuse

Indiana Governor Mike Pence
Indiana Governor Mike Pence

Governor Mike Pence is taking steps to fight drug abuse in Indiana. He has created the Governor’s Task Force on Drug Enforcement, Treatment, and Prevention.

That has the potential to make a big impact locally. Aaron Kochar is the director of prevention and education at Porter-Starke Services. He says the task force is a step in the right direction, “I’m glad the governor has formed a task force bringing together different representatives, both legislators and other policy makers, along with Dr. Adams the State Department of Health Commissioner, and a number of other people to look at this problem and find some new and innovative ways to attack this problem that’s been ravaging both Starke County and Indiana.”

The task force will meet three times over the next three months to hear from local experts and families affected by the drug abuse epidemic. Kochar says that will help continue the conversation on the best ways to address the problem, “I think it’s, in the long run, going to garner opinions from various expertise to try and hopefully deal with substance use disorder in Indiana in a more effective way, with things that we haven’t always used here or we’ve used in smaller situations like medicated-assisted therapy and expanding on some of the things that work, along with trying to more effectively use our resources across different types of organizations and governmental agencies.”

He hopes the task force will find new ways to help people suffering from addiction, “I’d like to see the task force members look at the evidence of what works both nationally and has worked in Indiana to most effectively address substance use disorder, including medicated- assisted therapy along with intensive outpatient counseling and look at other state and what different models are available.”

Kochar says it will take a variety of approaches to fight drug abuse, “Substance use disorder is an insidious disease, and it’s one that we don’t have a whole of tools to directly treat, and it’s something that we have to address as a community on a long term.”

The task force will update the governor throughout the process of meetings. After that, they will prepare a final report of their findings and recommendations.