Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill has criticized the state’s needle exchange programs as well as the Centers for Disease Control.
Hill’s criticisms come in the wake of a CDC report requesting the state cease collecting data on syringe exchange programs. According to the CDC, the information gathered by Indiana using inaccurate data can alter the true statistical picture.
The Governor’s Task Force on Drug Enforcement reported the average injection rate by Scott County users has jumped from five to nine times a day. Both the Task Force and Hill cited this data to support claims the exchange programs hurt communities.
The CDC says the jump in Scott County users’ injection rates was caused by a chemical added to opioid medications by pharmaceutical manufacturer Opana. The additive makes the medications more difficult to dissolve and subsequently more difficult to inject.
The medication can be more easily dissolved when water is added to the cooking process employed by substance abusers, resulting in the higher injection rates.
The CDC has also admitted its initial information regarding the medication was inaccurate, causing confusion.
Indiana Recovery Alliance Director Chris Abert disagreed with Hill’s criticisms. Hill said communities needed to balance “the three-prongs of attack — prevention, treatment, and law enforcement — in order to protect health and reduce crime.”
The Attorney General’s office did not respond to WFHB’s requests for comment.