Justin Hicks/IPB News

A couple of years ago, Zach Ritchie was driving back from Cincinnati with friends after buying heroin.

“[We] got the stuff, went to the mall to see what all was at the mall, and stopped at the gas station,” Ritchie says.

At the gas station, someone brought out the drugs.

“We all did it,” he says. “And by the time we pulled out of the gas station it had just totally stopped my heart and everything.”

Museum Launches Exhibit Exploring Opioid Crisis

Feb 11, 2020
Carter Barrett/Side Effects Public Media

Communities across the Midwest have been devastated by the opioid epidemic. But there's still a lot of misunderstanding about how opioids affect our bodies. A new and unusual museum exhibit is tackling this issue. 

The Indiana State Museum’s new exhibit is called “FIX.” Inside there’s a small kiosk with a monitor playing first-hand accounts of people who have struggled with addiction. 

One of them is Jose Ramos, a former anesthesiologist. 

Michigan Sues Opioid Distributors, Likens To Drug Dealers

Dec 17, 2019

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan is suing four companies over the deadly painkiller epidemic. State Attorney General Dana Nessel says Michigan is the first state to sue major opioid distributors under a drug dealer liability law.

The suit filed Tuesday names AmericsourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson and Walgreens.

They have been sued in other states, too.

Michigan is the 49th state to file legal action against the opioid industry.

Only Nebraska hasn't.

Nessel says the opioid crisis has led the state to bear high financial costs.


Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel will file a lawsuit today seeking damages from multiple drug related cases in the opioid addiction crisis.

This is the first time Michigan will take its own legal action related to alleged drug company misbehavior related to opioids.

The lawsuit will be filed in Wayne County, which has been hit particularly hard by opioid abuse.


Today the Michigan Dept. of Health & Human Services announced that overdose deaths decreased slightly in 2018. It's the first decline in six years. You can read the release below. 

LANSING, Mich. – After several years of increases in overdose deaths, in 2018 Michigan experienced a decrease overall, including a slight decline in opioid-related overdose deaths, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced today. In 2018, there were 2,599 overdose deaths, 2,036 of which were opioid-related.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

The final report for the National Judicial Opioid Task Force was released this week and includes recommendations and resources for courts responding to addiction.

The task force was formed in 2017.  Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush co-chairs the group and says it was created in response to the growing number of court cases related to substance abuse.


U.S. Surgeon General – and former Indiana Health Commissioner – Jerome Adams says additional screenings could offer Indiana college students more information about their potential for drug overdose and addiction.

Speaking Monday at Purdue University, Adams talked about what he called his own family’s genetic predisposition to addiction, and suggested that first-year students could benefit from taking an exam which correlates adverse childhood experiences with a likelihood for addiction later in life.

Indiana State Museum via Facebook https://www.facebook.com/IndianaMuseum/photos/a.72337503248/10157584015193249/?type=3&theater

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana is bringing an exhibition exploring the opioid crisis to its state museum early next year.

The Indiana State Museum says "Fix: Heartbreak and Hope Inside our Opioid Crisis" aims to remove the shame and isolation surrounding opioid addiction. It will feature displays on the biology behind addiction, the history of health crises in America, and personal stories from addicts and their families.

More than 1,700 people in Indiana died from drug overdoses in 2017. Most of those deaths were linked to opioid abuse.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Two programs that link health providers with on-the-ground experts will expand with help from the state. The work builds on the success of previous ECHO projects in Indiana. 

The state’s first ECHO project trained more providers around Indiana to treat Hepatitis C. Two newer projects will now receive nearly $1 million from the Indiana State Department of Health.  One focuses on training peer health educators in prison.

Justin Hicks/WVPE

The Wellness Council of Indiana kicked off a statewide series of employer talks in South Bend on Wednesday. It’s part of a campaign to encourage employers to hire and retain workers struggling with opioid addiction. 

The goal of the seminar was to arm employers with information about opioid abuse and treatment programs so they can help workers who ask for assistance with addiction. Representatives from the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Family and Social Services Administration spoke. 


The state will receive $21 million over the next three years to prevent drug overdose deaths.

The money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be used to improve data collection, increase prescription drug monitoring and provide harm reduction training. 

READ MORE: Report: Indiana Losing Out On Federal Opioid Funding

Justin Hicks/WVPE

Communities in southeast Indiana will receive more than $4.5 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to get recovering opioid users back into the workforce. State officials celebrated the announcement at a Honda manufacturing plant Friday. 

At the event, Indiana Drug Czar Jim McClelland called the opioid crisis a “plague” and Fred Payne, commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development, noted that in 2018 the state lost nearly $2 billion to the opioid crisis. Both say the grant represents a significant step in solving the workforce issues created by addiction.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

The first test case to hold a drug-maker responsible for the opioid epidemic was decided in Oklahoma Monday.  A judge ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay more than $500 million to the state

Indiana is one of 48 states taking legal action against drug manufacturers and Hoosier legal experts watched the Oklahoma case closely. 

Report: Indiana Losing Out On Federal Opioid Funding

Aug 27, 2019
Jake Harper/Side Effects Public Media

new analysis explores disparities in federal funding for the opioid crisis and finds Indiana is one of the states that may be getting short changed.

The federal government granted states a total of $11 billion in 2017-2018. Indiana received $158 million of that money. The report from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation says that amount should be higher.

Claire Fiddian-Green is the foundation's president and CEO.

National Drug Czar Visits Indiana To Talk Opioids

Aug 15, 2019

The head of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy visited Indiana this week to talk with state leaders about the opioid crisis. Drug Czar Jim Carroll says that he wants to share with other states and the federal government what led to a recent drop in overdose deaths in Indiana.