INDIANAPOLIS – Governor Eric J. Holcomb took decisive action today in combating the drug epidemic by signing his three legislative agenda bills into law as well as the bill to expand Indiana’s On My Way pre-k pilot program. These four bills were key items included in his Next Level legislative agenda.
Attacking the Drug Epidemic
“The opioid crisis is negatively impacting the lives of Hoosiers, their families, our communities—even our economy,” Gov. Holcomb said. “I commend lawmakers for supporting my initiatives and delivering a package of legislation that provides a holistic framework for us to attack this epidemic.”
Since 2000, deaths from drug overdoses have increased 500 percent, and Indiana ranks 15th in the country in overdose fatalities. On his first day in office, Gov. Holcomb created a new position, the Executive Director for Drug Prevention, Treatment and Enforcement, and appointed Jim McClelland to lead the effort. His legislative agenda included three bills designed to address the crisis in a coordinated and comprehensive way, and he signed all three into law today:
- SEA 226: Limits the amount of opioids that can be prescribed during a doctor’s first opioid prescription to a particular patient. This reduces the risk of addiction and reduces the phenomenon of “doctor shopping,” when drug addicted patients go to multiple doctors for opioid prescriptions.
- HEA 1438: Allows local governments to approve and establish syringe exchange programs to stop the spread of dangerous infectious diseases.
- HEA 1540: Elevates the level of felony that can be assessed for robbing a pharmacy or pharmacist under varying circumstances.
Gov. Holcomb also signed House Enrolled Act 1004 (HEA 1004) to expand Indiana’s On My Way pre-k pilot program from five to 20 counties and increase funding for early education programs by $10 million per year. This bill is a key component of the governor’s Next Level agenda to prepare a skilled and ready 21st century workforce.
“My goal this session was to double the number of low-income students who have access to quality prekindergarten programs,” Gov. Holcomb said. “It’s a joy to sign this bill that gives more students a great start to their educational journeys.”
Additionally, Holcomb signed 21 other bills. Visit the 2017 Bill Watch webpage to view these and other bills the governor has signed into law.
SOURCE: News release from the Office of Governor Eric J. Holcomb