New Resources Available to Battle the Opioid Epidemic

As Indiana continues to fight the opioid crisis, health care providers across the state and their partners are launching initiatives and developing new resources to help. Learn more about the work being done by the State of Indiana, Deaconess Health System, the Indiana State Medical Association and Bartholomew County.


In October, Gov. Eric Holcomb introduced Indiana’s Next Level Recovery website, which connects health care professionals, emergency personnel, law enforcement, community leaders and persons with substance use disorder and their families with resources to help fight the ongoing opioid epidemic. For health care providers, the website highlights the importance of naloxone, prescription drug monitoring data, safe prescribing and patient education. It also points to IHA’s Addressing Substance Abuse Toolkit, which contains resources and best practices in three key areas: prescribing and treatment, staff education and safety and community engagement. Visit to learn more.


Deaconess Health System hosted Indiana Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, state lawmakers and health care leaders on July 24 to announce the successful integration of the Indiana Scheduled Prescription Electronic Collection and Tracking (INSPECT) program into the hospital’s electronic health record system. The integration is the first of its kind in the state and uses Appriss Health’s PMP Gateway to shorten the data search time from minutes to seconds, creating a quick and efficient process for prescribers during every patient encounter. Modern Healthcare featured the success of the integration in the article “Patient Drug Use Data at Your Fingertips” on Oct. 9.

“At Deaconess, we are committed to the prevention of prescription drug misuse and abuse in our patient population,” said Dr. Gina Huhnke, director of medical affairs and emergency medicine. “Integrating INSPECT information into daily workflow ensures prescribers at Deaconess will more often, and more easily, access this valuable prescription monitoring data to make better informed clinical decisions to better ensure patient safety. We look forward to working with the State of Indiana and Appriss Health on these important efforts.”

With the more accessible information, providers have been able to identify patients at risk for an overdose earlier and start conversations about treatment.

“Easy access to prescription drug monitoring data is essential to the welfare of our patients,” Dr. Hunke said.

Following the successful pilot, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that Indiana will fund the integration of INSPECT statewide. “INSPECT helps health care professionals around the state limit the number of controlled-substance prescriptions that contribute to our state’s devastating drug crisis,” Holcomb said.

For more information on the statewide initiative and to access the integration request for information form, visit the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency website at


In October, the Indiana State Medical Association (ISMA) launched a webinar series on opioid prescribing that incorporates the most current information on how providers can reduce addiction in Indiana. Each monthly webinar will focus on a different opioid topic to address the needs of health care providers in multiple specialties.

Webinars are scheduled for the third Thursday of each month from 12-1 p.m. ET. Topics include having difficult conversations with patients seeking opioids; appropriate prescribing of controlled substances; perioperative protocols for pain and patients at risk for addiction; addressing opioid challenges in special populations; assessing complex chronic pain; and integration of the Indiana Scheduled Prescription Electronic Collection and Tracking (INSPECT) program. For more information and to register, visit


The Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress in Bartholomew County (ASAP-BC) was founded in April to lead an aggressive and immediate approach to addressing the county’s opioid crisis. The alliance aims to address and mitigate the considerable impact the crisis continues to have on the entire community.

ASAP-BC is led by retired Cummins executive Jeff Jones, who serves in a volunteer capacity. It is structured into four action teams—prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery—to address the crisis from multiple fronts. Each action team has a leader in place to guide the development of projects and solutions. Additional staff and volunteers have joined the team to provide subject-matter expertise, and the structure continues to evolve as the team begins implementing solutions that will address the problem for years to come.

The Healthy Communities Council of Bartholomew County oversees the alliance. The council supported its establishment, recognizing that the crisis stems from access to opioids and limited treatment and recovery services, as well as other gateways and barriers. The alliance is also sponsored by three community leaders: Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop, Bartholomew County Commissioner Carl Lienhoop and President and CEO of Columbus Regional Health Jim Bickel. For more information, visit ASAP-BC’s Facebook page at


A new toolkit from the American Hospital Association (AHA), Stem the Tide: Addressing the Opioid Epidemic, offers guidance and case examples to help hospitals and health systems work with patients, clinicians and communities to tackle the opioid epidemic. The resource includes tools and information to promote appropriate prescribing practices; identify non-opioid treatment options; treat opioid use disorders and address stigma; educate patients, families and caregivers; ensure safe and effective care transitions; safeguard prescription opioids against diversion; and collaborate with communities. Download the toolkit at