Merritt: Companies Relaxing Rules to Deal With Opioid Issue

Posted: Updated:
Merritt says every Hoosier "is affected by this scourge in one way or another." Merritt says every Hoosier "is affected by this scourge in one way or another."
INDIANAPOLIS -

An Indiana senator who has been a major voice in the battle against the opioid epidemic says addiction is causing companies to relax their drug testing rules. "People are having to not drug test when they ordinarily would to get employees," says Jim Merritt (R-31). He believes those companies are hopeful that, if an employee has addiction issues, they can resolve them in-house without termination. The recently-released Indiana University Kelley School of Business economic forecast pegs the annual economic cost of the epidemic at more than $1 billion in the state.

Merritt was one of several lawmakers that last month praised President Donald Trump for declaring the nation's opioid epidemic a national public health emergency. At the time, he said the issue "has impacted every household in our state and nation in one way or another," and that lawmakers "are working diligently to kill this epidemic in Indiana."

Kyle Anderson, one of the economists behind the IU Kelley forecast, says, in addition to the public health toll, opioid misuse takes qualified people out of the work force and impacts the productivity of those who are working. The report estimates the annual loss in Indiana's Gross State Product as a result of the epidemic to be between $1.25 billion and $1.8 billion.

Fighting addiction is the focus of Indiana University's third Grand Challenges initiative, which Merritt says is an "exceptional statement." The $50 million effort will bring together resources from the university's seven campuses throughout the state for projects covering issues including substance abuse prevention, early intervention, treatment, recovery and enforcement and the training of addictions professionals.

"As I've said many times," says Merritt, "6.6 million Hoosiers...everyone is affected by this scourge in one way or another."

  • Perspectives

    • Can You Fulfill Your Quest?

      All of us have dragons to slay. At work or at home, in personal or professional relationships, each of us is on a Quest to find the treasure or save the prince/princess. Or perhaps, our goal is more prosaic: getting that promotion, standing up to that bully, or finishing that big project. In his book The Seven Basic Plots, Christopher Booker lists seven story forms which story tellers employ over and over. Each is plot is linked to a fundamental metaphysical Question that we...

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • High Schools Launch Manufacturing Businesses

      Two student-run manufacturing businesses have launched in southern Indiana. The companies, Eagle Manufacturing at Brown County High School in Nashville and Lion Manufacturing at Loogootee High School in Martin County, are designed to give students hands-on, real world experience. The businesses were funded with grants from Bloomington-based nonprofit Regional Opportunity Initiatives Inc. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, ROI Chief Executive Officer...

    • Books & Brews Acquires Flat12 Bierwerks

      Indianapolis-based Books & Brews has announced its acquisition of Flat12 Bierwerks, also based in Indy. Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed, however Books & Brews says it will continue to operate Flat12 under the same brand name. The acquisition is a continuation of an existing partnership between the two entities. Books & Brews says Flat12 has been a brewery partner for the past two years, brewing all of B&B's flagship and seasonal beers.

    • Fair Oaks Farms to Open New Hotel

      After more than a year of construction, Fair Oaks Farms will Thursday open its new $15 million hotel. The Fairfield Inn by Marriott, Fair Oaks Farms features 99 rooms, including 31 suites, some of which are located within two silos on the property.

    • Haan Crafts Closing in Benton County

      Haan Crafts LLC says it will close its facility in Benton County, resulting in 27 layoffs. The more than 40-year-old company says a growing number of schools cutting sewing classes has made it impossible to sustain "a profitable, stand-alone business."

    • Can You Fulfill Your Quest?

      All of us have dragons to slay. At work or at home, in personal or professional relationships, each of us is on a Quest to find the treasure or save the prince/princess. Or perhaps, our goal is more prosaic: getting that promotion, standing up to that bully, or finishing that big project. In his book The Seven Basic Plots, Christopher Booker lists seven story forms which story tellers employ over and over. Each is plot is linked to a fundamental metaphysical Question that we...