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Indiana drug czar urges community effort to combat opioid crisis

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana's drug czar has ramped up efforts in the Hoosier state to combat the opioid crisis.

The position of drug czar was created by Gov. Eric Holcomb in January 2017, and Jim McClelland, the former CEO of Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, was hired for the job. That job involves coordinating all of the state and federal resources related to substance abuse.

Currently, McClelland and his team have several projects in the works. That includes expanding Project Point, a project currently in practice at Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis. It involves connecting counselors in the Emergency Room department with individuals who have been revived from an overdose. The goal is to get them treatment as quickly as possible. McClelland said he hopes to replicate this project in high-need hospitals across the state.

However, the efforts by state and federal agencies can only go so far.

"There are certain areas where the state can and must lead," he said, "but so much of the work that needs to be done on the prevention front and recovery helping people who have achieved a level of recovery maintain it, can and best be done, and in many cases must be done at a local level."

In early October 2017, Indiana launched a new website with a vast database of resources and data on substance abuse. To explore that website, click here.

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