Indiana Republican Majority Caucus Chair and State Senator Jim Merritt
State Senator Jim Merritt’s office submitted these responses to the American Opioid Podcast on 10/11/2018 12:43:08 PM.
What district of Indiana do you represent?
Briefly, how would you describe the opioid crisis in your state?
An epidemic with continuing tragedy.
What are the two or three most significant bills that have been introduced in your chamber to help alleviate the opioid crisis in your state?
1) Making Narcan available to Hoosiers.
(2015: SB 406/Public Law 32)
2) Establishing a working relationships between county coroners and the Department of Health regarding cause of death and overdosing.
(2018: SB139/Public Law 193)
What was your involvement, if any, in those bills (e.g., introduction, advocacy, vote pledge)?
I authored the above pieces of legislation.
Have any of the bills passed? If not, why?
Yes, each of the above bills passed.
What was the most memorable experience you had while learning about the opioid crisis in your state?
Discovering a non-opioid, FDA approved device called a BRIDGE that allows an individual to proceed through withdrawal without pain. The BRIDGE makes detox so much simpler. I first learned of this device in September of 2015.
If you had a magic wand that allowed you to pass any legislation you wanted in order to help alleviate the opioid crisis in your state, what would that legislation look like?
Every hospital would have a detox treatment and recovery service, which would be covered by health insurance companies.
Are there any additional thoughts you would like to share?
I believe Indiana has turned the corner. In Indiana we’ve done our research, we’ve set our foundation and we’ve turned the corner to end the opioid epidemic.