Opioid Epidemic in Indiana

As the 2018 legislative session of the Indiana General Assembly begins to take shape, it appears that the number one item on the agenda is the opioid epidemic within the State of Indiana. In recent weeks, President Donald Trump, Governor Eric Holcomb, Attorney General Curtis Hill, and several members of the General Assembly have issued statements concerning this serious problem within our society. The current leaders of both our federal and state governments have decided to double-down on the rhetoric of prohibition and criminalization. They seek to punish “those responsible” through lawsuits which will result in windfall revenues for government.

While the members of Libertarian Party of Indiana are deeply concerned with the medical and social crisis that many Hoosiers are facing in the grips of opioid addiction, we strongly disagree with the methods which our government officials have chosen to deal with it. The members of the LPIN steadfastly believe that the strong-arm tactics of the “War on Drugs” has been an abysmal failure for over 40 years. We also believe that filing lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies is a government money-grab which will not help the individual trapped in addiction, nor will it lessen the potential for future individuals to become addicted. We believe that private entities, such as churches, fraternal organizations, and other non-profits, must be empowered to reach out and address the needs of the individual victims of this personal medical issue. We believe that individuals must be encouraged to seek treatment, as prescribed by a medical professional, without fear of government reprisal or interdiction.

To this end, the Libertarian Party of Indiana proposes the following changes to legislative and regulatory policy and enforcement in the State of Indiana: 

  • Understand that privately-administered drug treatment programs and facilities, provided by non-profit organizations focused on the needs of the individual, are most effective. Deregulate drug treatment programs. Minimally-invasive regulations to protect the individual from fraud or malfeasance are necessary; however, they must be carefully balanced against the rights of individuals to seek available treatment options;  
  • pass legislation to decriminalize CBD oil and medical marijuana. Individuals who require pain management and other medical treatment options, whether that treatment be for physical, emotional, or mental conditions, should not be restricted to pharmaceutically-manufactured, highly-addictive opioids;
  • recognizing that addiction is a medical condition and not a criminal condition, pass legislation which would decriminalize the possession of all opioids and other controlled substances. Fear of prosecution severely inhibits an individual’s willingness to seek medical treatment; and,
  • immediately cease the government-sponsored needle exchange programs, which are currently controlled at the county level. Pass legislation which would decriminalize and encourage the institution of needle exchanges by non-profit organizations. Reduce regulatory interference in the implementation and administration of these private needle exchanges. This will prevent ideologues from exacerbating the crisis by preventing a common-sense program from being operated safely;

Our state government must recognize that the opioid epidemic has been exacerbated by the plethora of regulatory and legislative interferences which have created an environment of prohibitive and punitive activities by government agencies. The so-called War on Drugs has apparently made the opioid epidemic worse. The Libertarian Party of Indiana calls on our state government officials to recognize that the solution to this crisis resides in less government involvement, not more government interference. The LPIN encourages the Indiana General Assembly to introduce and pass legislation which will deregulate private, non-profit organizations who can better serve the needs of the individual and to decriminalize the medical condition of addiction, so that those who are suffering and dying in fear of punishment can find the treatment that they so desperately need.

1300 E. 86th Street #40573, Indianapolis, IN 46240 | 317-920-1994 | lpinhq@lpin.org 

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