The Porter County
Commission-ers joined the Porter County Health Department on Tuesday in
proclaiming October as Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness
Commissioners’ meeting Tuesday, Health Department Nursing Director Connie
Rudd read a proclamation urging elected officials, educators, health
providers and community leaders across Porter County to support and
implement programs to alleviate the “epidemic” of heroin use.
Rudd said one of
her nurses who serves on the Porter County Substance Abuse Council, Jenny
Harkel, came to her saying “that something needs to be done” about the
alarming number of deaths caused by opioid-related overdoses.
“This is a huge,
huge issue,” said Rudd.
Recently in August,
several officials came together to meet as opioid abuse and heroin epidemic
stakeholders, including Sheriff Dave Reynolds and two of his jail staff,
State Sen. Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, a staff member from U.S. Sen. Joe
Donnelly’s office, Porter County Superior Court Judge Julia Jent, County
Commissioner Jim Biggs, R-North, and County Council member Sylvia Graham,
Rudd said the group
discussed in-depth ways for agencies to partner together and checked to see
what gaps in services existed for people who struggle with opioid and heroin
They also developed
the proclamation, with the Health Department, which Rudd read into the
Commissioners’ meeting minutes.
“The Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, the Indiana State Department of Health and
the Porter County Health Department with the elected officials in Porter
County classify the overuse and abuse of heroin and opioid drugs as an
epidemic,” the proclamation said.
are encouraging medical doctors and care providers to consider alternative
options as a first line of unified defense by implementing safe practices in
pain management as well as opioid abuse prevention and addiction support to
address the crisis.”
collaboration among stakeholders and the public, the better chances for
success to empower opioid abusers to overcome their addictions, Rudd said.
Joining her at the Commissioners’ meeting were other representatives of the
Health Department and personnel from Porter Regional Hospital.
“Let us assure
everyone with an opioid abuse disorder that they can embark on the road to
recovery and together let’s begin to turn the tide of this epidemic,” Rudd
continued in the proclamation. “We strive to keep reaching to implement
better policy and deliver more resources that we so desperately need.”
Rudd said October
is also National Substance Abuse Awareness Month. “This would coincide with
that and we wanted Porter County to put an exclamation point on this huge
issue,” she said.
If residents find
any unused prescriptions in their medicine cabinets, every police department
in Porter County will accept and dispose of them, Rudd said. She said the
health department also has Narcan kits that can revive overdose victims and
the department can instruct residents how to use them.
On a related note,
the Commissioners approved a six-month contract with a support analyst to
assist with the Sheriff’s Department’s heroin overdose project to help
identify persons bringing drugs from around the Chicago area and into Porter