Health problems related to opioid use are being tracked by the Indiana State Department of Health. County-level statistics on things like opioid overdoses resulting in a trip to the emergency room or death, as well as diseases like Hepatitis C that may indicate the sharing of needles, are all included in the new county opioid profiles.
Locally, both Starke and Pulaski counties saw declines in their rates of nonfatal emergency department visits due to opioid overdoses between 2011 and 2015. While Pulaski County’s rate of overdose deaths declined over that same period, Starke County’s increased, with a particular in 2013. Chronic Hepatitis C rates are also heading upward in both counties.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Jerome Adams says the goal of the data profiles is to help local governments and nonprofit organizations better assess their community’s needs and protect residents.