Statehouse Republicans Ignored Opiate Crisis Until State Saw HIV Outbreak

State has yet to respond to IDP records request from last August, in violation of public access laws

INDIANAPOLIS – The opiate crisis has crippled Hoosier families and the state of Indiana. It was this epidemic that caused the worst HIV outbreak in state history. What’s shocking is that much of this could have prevented had Mike Pence and Statehouse Republicans not been late-to-the-game in addressing this epidemic. What’s more startling, Eric Holcomb has expressed his support for Pence’s approach to this crisis.

It was Mike Pence who put ideology ahead of science when he ignored calls for a response to this crisis, including a needle-exchange program called for by Scott County officials. Other counties hopped on board as high Hepatitis C outbreaks also called for county needle-exchange programs. And yet nothing was done until well after more than 80 Hoosiers tested positive for HIV and more than two months after there were signs of trouble in Austin.

“When Hoosiers needed their help the most, Mike Pence and Statehouse Republicans were asleep at the switch. And in turn, the state saw its worst HIV outbreak and more than 175 Hoosiers saw their lives change forever,” said John Zody, Chairman. “The state has yet to respond to IDP’s records request surrounding this outbreak, and so many questions remain. For the sake of our state and every Hoosiers’ well-being, Mike Pence and Statehouse Republicans should apologize for being late-to-the-game in addressing the opiate epidemic.”

The IDP last August formally asked Mike Pence to release all communication surrounding his knowledge of the HIV outbreak and why it took him 65 days to react to this health crisis. But now more than a year has passed, and the IDP’s request remains idle in the Statehouse. And in the words of the current Public Access Counselor, Pence’s neglect seems to be a clear “violation” of the request – given the public’s interest on the issue.

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