INDIANAPOLIS -- Members of the governor’s newly created Drug Abuse Task Force heard a common theme at their first meeting Wednesday: local communities and programs around the state need more money.
But, addiction treatment professionals say money alone isn’t the solution. Andy Chambers, an addiction psychiatrist with Eskenazi Health’s Midtown Community Mental Health clinic in Indianapolis, says 50 percent of Indiana’s psychiatrists are within 10 years of retirement and the IU School of Medicine only trains six psychiatrists per year.
“On top of that figure, we discover that only 25 percent of Indiana psychiatrists were actually trained in Indiana," Chambers said. "So not only are we not training enough, but we’re having to cope with the unbelievable pressure of having to recruit from outside of Indiana into psychiatry, which is almost impossible.”
Carrie Cadwell is a clinical psychologist in rural Indiana, and the COO of Four County Counseling Center. She says doctors also need to be more proactive about treating mental health and addiction.
“Do we hope that people walk in our doors and we can grab them when they finally walk in our door, or that we need to be treating them where they find themselves every single day,” Cadwell said.
The task force Wednesday approved “action items” for the governor to implement. Those include exploring whether the Indiana Medical Licensing Board should require continuing medical education for doctors who prescribe controlled substances.