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

    • Truck Driver Supply Impacting Cargo Hauling Demand

      The U.S. unemployment rate has moved down to 3.9 percent, which is its lowest level since December 2000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Great news! Maybe not. There are business sectors that need employees due to constraints in the labor market - namely truck drivers. The level of employment in the truck transportation industry is essentially unchanged since mid-2015, according to the bureau. And the impact is being felt.

    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

    • Triple XXX Root Beer Appears in Prime Time

      A soft drink that carries the name of an iconic West Lafayette restaurant has been featured on a national television series. In a message on the Triple XXX Family Restaurant's Instagram page, co-owner Carrie Ehresman said the recent appearance of Triple XXX Root Beer on NBC's "Chicago Fire" was not product placement. She said the show's producers reached out through the restaurant's website and "we weren't sure we'd make the final cut until it aired!"

    • Truck Driver Supply Impacting Cargo Hauling Demand

      The U.S. unemployment rate has moved down to 3.9 percent, which is its lowest level since December 2000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Great news! Maybe not. There are business sectors that need employees due to constraints in the labor market - namely truck drivers. The level of employment in the truck transportation industry is essentially unchanged since mid-2015, according to the bureau. And the impact is being felt.

    • Mark Sandy became Ball State's director of intercollegiate athletics in 2015.

      Ball State to Introduce Next AD

      Ball State University Monday will name a new director of intercollegiate athletics. Mark Sandy, who has served in the position for more than three years, announced his retirement in January. During Sandy's tenure, eight teams won Mid-American Conference league championships or division titles. Three new facilities projects have been completed during his time in Muncie...

    • The Impact of Technology on Economic Development Policy

      In a world where technology is enabling almost everything, economic development policy makers are faced with several challenges when planning and implementing strategies for economic growth. Communities, regions and states must be able to adapt programs and initiatives to address the economic disruption caused by technology. In particular, investments in tech and talent are vital to ensuring economic growth and wealth creation for residents and businesses throughout the world.

    • City of Fort Wayne Promotes Joyner to Director

      Cindy Joyner has been promoted to director of Fort Wayne's Community Development Division. She has served as deputy director of the division for the past 10 years. Joyner oversaw the Neighborhood Code Compliance Department and helped to enhance customer service and community outreach. She has worked for the city of Fort Wayne since 2002.