INDIANAPOLIS – As Hoosiers continue to battle the opiate addiction crisis that cripples many across Indiana, Judge Lorenzo Arredondo released the following op-ed on how he would combat this epidemic as the state’s next attorney general.
“Nothing is more heartbreaking than watching a newborn experience opiate withdrawal.
She shakes uncontrollably. He cries incessantly and cannot be consoled. She seizes. He suffers from severe bouts of vomiting and diarrhea. It may take months of intensive hospital care to detoxify the baby. Sometimes she dies.
A recent study by the Indiana State Department of Health found that as many as one in five babies in Indiana is born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, a fancy name for addiction. Another study concluded that, every 19 minutes, a child is born in the United States with an addiction inherited from his or her mother.
These children are not the only victims. Sometimes their mother are victims too, having unwittingly become addicted by a physician or other health practitioner acting heedlessly or greedily as he hands out painkiller prescriptions like candy. When the cost of prescription painkillers gets too high for these addicts, they often turn to heroin.
Taxpayers also are victims, bearing the cost of treatment that can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars for each baby.
The Indiana attorney general has the authority to go after drug-dealing doctors and I will make it my top priority to investigate and prosecute over-prescribing practitioners so we can stop the misuse and abuse of prescription opiates. I will devote resources into aggressively investigating over-prescribing Medicaid providers and prosecuting them before their respective licensing boards or in the criminal courts.
Drawing on my experience as teacher, I also will create a public education program to teach Hoosier consumers how to recognize the improper use and prescribing of opiates and how to report suspicious prescribers.
We can stop greedy doctors who betray their Hippocratic Oath to make millions by dealing prescription drugs. We can stop the epidemic of opiate abuse by cutting off the supply and directing health-care dollars to treat addictions. And we can stop the suffering of addicted infants, the most innocent victims of this horrific epidemic.”