INDIANAPOLIS -- Gov. Mike Pence Tuesday announced the creation of a drug enforcement, treatment and prevention task force to take a fresh look at tackling the state's growing heroin crisis.
From 2003 to 2013 – the most recent year for which data is available – the number of heroin overdose deaths in Indiana grew from three to 152. The Hoosier State ranks 16th highest in the country for all drug overdoses.
Pence says the newly-created drug task force will identify gaps in enforcement, treatment and prevention and develop solutions for the state.
“How do we make sure that the efforts that are happening at the local level are better coordinated with efforts that are happening at the state and even the national level,” Pence said.
The task force is comprised of law enforcement officials, physicians, a bipartisan group of lawmakers, and major agency heads. And Pence says his message to them is one of urgency.
“We’re looking for recommendations, recommendations that can be implemented immediately through administrative action and recommendations, if need be, that we take to the Indiana General Assembly in the coming session,” Pence said.
In a statement, Indiana Democratic Party Chair John Zody criticized the governor for regularly being late to the game when it comes to health and well-being issues.