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home : most recent : statewide implications October 18, 2018

9/28/2018 11:36:00 AM
Officials say opioid centers don't raise crime in their neighborhoods, but offer no statistics

Scott L. Miley, Herald Bulletin CNHI Statehouse Bureau

INDIANAPOLIS — Hoosier neighborhoods near opioid treatment clinics reportedly experience higher traffic volumes but not higher crime rates, officials told a legislative panel on Thursday.

The views were based on anecdotal results, not specific crime data from those neighborhoods around the state's 18 centers.

Kevin Moore, director of the Division of Mental Health and Addiction for the state, said he asked the state’s data management hub for crime statistics but received county breakdowns. 

"We get very few reports," Moore said.

"We do know that our rules require security measures," Moore said. "They require safe medication storage. We evaluate security procedures on them when we go out for site visits.

"And for the five new programs that just opened just this year, we did require them to have onsite security personnel available during business hours for the protection of the neighborhood, for protection of clients and staff at the clinics," Moore said.

Moore did not provide that state data with members of the Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health and Human Services.

Moore said he hoped the crime data could be broken down by zip code. 

One of the 18 clinics, the Southern Indiana Comprehensive Treatment Center in Clark County, between Charlestown and Jeffersonville, provides methadone and other drugs, medical care and counseling to southern Indiana residents with opioid addicts. The center treats about 1,800 people with at least 400 visiting the center daily.

“We actually talked to the local police department and assistant chief and specifically asked if they’d seen an increase in crime around this facility and their answer was no,” Former Clark County health officer Kevin Burke said.

The safety issue arose from a bill, signed into law, authored by Rep. Cindy Kirchhofer, R-Beech Grove, which in part asked for a study of the impact of opioid treatment programs on criminal activity, property values and quality of life, among others.

Among expected legislation from the committee in 2019 are plans for more regulation of clinics — now numbering more than 500 in Indiana — that offer Suboxone to manage opioid dependence. Methadone clinics are under stricter regulations in Indiana.

Related Stories:
• Opioid epidemic showing signs of turning corner, state drug czar says
• Opioid treatment center coming to Henry County

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