Author: 'Community Is The Answer' to Opioids

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Quinones will speak at the May 14 event at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Quinones will speak at the May 14 event at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

An author who has written about the nationwide opioid epidemic says communities collaborating with "many ideas and solutions being tried together" will be key to addressing the crisis. "Dreamland: A True Tale of the Opioid Epidemic" author Sam Quinones will speak Monday at a fundraiser supporting the IU Behavioral Health facility in downtown Indianapolis. He says, while there will be no singular, quick fix for the opioid issue, the more communities work together, "the more we are prepared for the next scourge."

The May 14 event at the Indianapolis Museum of Art is being hosted by the Methodist Hospital Task Core, which is a volunteer group that raises funds to support IU Health Methodist Hospital. 

Quinones says "Dreamland" explores what he says was a 20-year path to the opioid epidemic. Research for the book took him to the nation's Rust Belt, where he says economic devastation due to factories leaving led to population fragmentation and isolation. In addition, he says pharmaceutical marketers suggested to doctors that the drugs were not addicting, leading the doctors to prescribe them to patients, who wanted their conditions diagnosed and cured quickly.

He believes the crisis will continue "for a while," suggesting that an epidemic that took decades to emerge would not be solved quickly.

"There's a lot of small solutions, and they all have to be tried, more or less, at once," Quinones tells Inside INdiana Business. "There's no one thing that can get us out of this."

In addition to the public health costs, a group of Indiana University Kelley School of Business economists pegged the annual loss in Indiana's Gross State Product as a result of the epidemic at between $1.25 billion and $1.8 billion. IU's third $50 million Grand Challenges initiative is targeting the addiction crisis. In February, the school unveiled the first slate of projects to receive funding.

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