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

    • Plan Developed; Time For Action

      More than two hundred community leaders from all corners of the region gathered last week in Mishawaka for the unveiling of the first ever regional economic development plan. The plan launch marked the culmination of more than a year of work by hundreds of volunteers seeking to develop a roadmap for regional development over the next seven years. The plan comes on the heels of...

    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

    • Gen Con Extends With Indianapolis

      Gen Con LLC has extended its agreement to hold its massive gaming event in Indianapolis through 2022. Last year's event attracted record turnstile attendance of nearly 208,000. For the first time in its 50-year history, the convention sold out all of its attendee badges before last year's event began. The event also added the first level of Lucas Oil Stadium, and reached Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the first time for a concert by Grammy-winning band They Might Be Giants.

    • Cummins to Design Combat Engines That Elude the Enemy

      The monstrous, larger-than-life military tanks of tomorrow could be powered by Hoosier ingenuity. A recent $47 million defense contract delivers marching orders for Columbus-based Cummins Inc.: develop the next-generation engine to power U.S. combat vehicles, and it must be stronger, but smaller, and elusive to enemies’ efforts to spot it. 

    • Manufacturing Exec: Indiana Has a 'Population Problem'

      The president of the Indiana Manufacturers Association says, to fill the growing number of openings in Indiana's manufacturing sector and beyond, the state needs to ramp up efforts to increase its population. "Our check engine light is on," says Brian Burton, "and it's blinking." He says the association is pushing a measure with state lawmakers that would exempt some people who move to Indiana for a job from paying state income tax for a number of years.

    • Greenwood Approves Downtown Projects

      The Greenwood Redevelopment Commission has approved more than $4.5 million in downtown projects. They include a major exterior renovation for Planetary Brewing and a new connector road. The Planetary Brewing project is being supported by funding from the G.R.O.W. Greenwood Initiative, which is a matching grant program to help businesses along some of the city's most traveled corridors improve their aesthetic appeal. RDC President Brent Tilson says the results have been...

    • Study: Indiana Amish Gene Mutation Shows Longer Life Potential

      Northeast Indiana's Amish population is at the center of research that could help people live longer. Results from a 2015 study that were published late last year in the journal ScienceAdvances suggests those who possess a specific gene mutation, first identified in 1991 by the Indiana Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center in an Adams County girl with a rare bleeding disorder, live around a decade longer than normal. They also had lower insulin levels and diabetes rates.