Federal funding to fight opioid addiction could come to Indiana

Indiana could receive a chunk of a $1 billion funding package to battle opioid addiction that the White House is fighting for.

“We know it’s what we need but we don’t have the money to do it,” Life Treatment Center Supervisor Sheila Miller said.

Among a list of things needed at South Bend’s Life Treatment Center, Miller said one thing sticks out.

“To hear that this money could be possibly available, what pops into my mind is medical detox!” she said. “Maybe we could do a medical detox.”

That money would come from a new initiative President Obama is fighting for to combat the nation’s ongoing battle with opioids.

If approved by Congress, the program could send up to $19 million to Indiana; money that Miller said her team could use to implement a medical detox program.

“If we can’t get them clean, we can’t get them engaged in the programming,” Miller said, speaking of her patients. “So, to me, the most important place for [the money] to be would be in the medical detox.”

The Life Treatment Center currently offers a social detox program, but many addicts choose to leave it prematurely.

Miller said a possible increase in funding would help her team fight a Michiana opioid problem she ranks as a 10 out of 10.

“Even with methamphetamines, we’re not looking at this risk of overdose and this risk of death that we are looking at with the heroin epidemic,” Miller said.

She said funding should go toward helping addicts overcome their sickness, not punish them for their drug use.

“I think that there’s a big difference between an addict and a criminal,” Miller said. “Many people that are addicts commit crimes, but they’re not criminals in and of themselves. How many of our clients are actually criminals? Probably zero. They’re all just addicts.”

And though her team is working hard, she said one problem continues to hold them back.

“No money, no mission,” Miller said. 

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