Indiana News

Counselors Meet to Review Jump in Heroin Use

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WOWO): Indianapolis substance-abuse counselors have gathered to compare notes on how to combat a rise in heroin use.

This comes as police have reported more heroin busts and more overdoses.

Fairbanks Recovery Center director of adult services Robin Parsons says heroin is even more addictive than other illegal drugs, and users find they need more and more to get their high. That makes it more dangerous than other drugs too, since the purity of heroin on the street is inconsistent.

Users may take what they think is their usual amount and end up overdosing, or try to clean up long enough for a job interview and then OD when they next take the drug because their tolerance has changed.

Parsons says the strength of the addiction makes it correspondingly difficult to break the dependency. She says it practically requires supervised withdrawal in an inpatient setting. Half a dozen treatment providers met at Fairbanks to discuss what‘s working and what‘s not. Parsons says heroin needs to be treated as a public health crisis, not just a law enforcement problem.

Fifth District Congresswoman Susan Brooks co-hosted the meeting, her second in five months on heroin in Indianapolis. She says Congress needs to know what programs are working so it can make or increase appropriations accordingly.

One program Brooks says could be a national model is Fairbanks‘ Hope Academy, one of about 20 schools nationwide targeted specifically for recovering teenage substance abusers. Brooks says about a fifth of the 30 students she talked with at Fairbanks had used heroin.

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