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Governor Pence Announces New Effort In Combatting Opioid Abuse Among Veterans
Updated March 11, 2016 6:06 AM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - Governor Mike Pence and the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency today announced a new partnership with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to curb opioid abuse among Hoosier veterans.

Veterans receiving treatment in VA hospitals in Indiana will soon be enrolled in Indiana's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (INSPECT), a tool for health care professionals to address the problem of prescription drug abuse and diversion in Indiana.

"Indiana has always valued the service of our veterans," said Governor Mike Pence. "This new partnership between INSPECT and the federal Department of Veterans Affairs is a continuance of our promise to ensure quality health care for our Hoosier veterans and a positive step forward in the fight against opioid abuse in Indiana."

The partnership requires that veterans' prescriptions through the VA be enrolled in INSPECT's online database in which health care professionals and prescribers can access patients' controlled substance information and flag abuses.

The partnership will begin with a pilot program at the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. Pending the pilot program's results, the Adam Benjamin Jr. VA in Crown Point and both the Ft. Wayne and Marion, IN campuses of the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System will follow in utilizing the INSPECT program. The Evansville VA Health Care Facility, which transmits pharmacy data through the nearby Marion, IL VA Medical Center, will not be submitting data to INSPECT. However, Indiana health care practitioners will still have access to their veteran patients' health data through an existing interoperability agreement with Illinois.

"Since 2007, INSPECT has been a valuable tool for health care providers in Indiana," said Dr. Ginny Creasman, interim director of the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. "This additional effort will ensure prescription information is made securely available to both the VA and community providers. Ultimately, health care will be safer for our veterans."

Governor Pence's administration has championed numerous initiatives to combat drug abuse in Indiana. In September 2015, Governor Pence established by Executive Order the Governor's Task Force on Drug Enforcement, Treatment and Prevention to bring together Indiana experts from a variety of specialties to evaluate the growing national drug problem in Indiana.

Governor Pence also recently unveiled the state's plans to build a new state-of-the-art neuro-diagnostic institute that will provide major advancements to Indiana's public mental health delivery system. The institute, scheduled to begin serving patients in 2018, will be a key component of the state's initiative to improve Indiana's network of state-operated mental health facilities.

For more information about the INSPECT program and its partnership with the VA, visit http://www.in.gov/pla/inspect/index.htm.



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