Drugs Tied to Indiana HIV Outbreak Causes Indiana to Declare an Epidemic
Late last week, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana declared a public health emergency, citing an HIV epidemic. Drugs tied to Indiana HIV outbreak are the main focus for this epidemic. Even though many drug abusers believe contracting HIV through needle sharing will never happen to them, it does, and it is a very serious matter.
How serious is this matter and why did Gov. Pence declare this situation an outbreak? Both of those questions can be answered in one staggering fact. Scott County, where this epidemic is centered has reported over 170 cases of HIV this year alone. On average, Scott County usually reports around 5 cases a year. To go from 5 cases to 170 cases in the blink of an eye is very alarming, hence the public health emergency. Gov. Pence states, “Scott County is facing an epidemic of HIV, but this is not a Scott County problem; this is an Indiana problem.”
How is this an Indiana problem? Like many epidemics, if this HIV outbreak is not contained it will spread to other surrounding counties and consume the state. The scariest part about this is that 170 cases are what were reported, meaning that these people found out they had HIV and reported it. There are others that simply do not know they have contracted HIV, as they will not show immediate symptoms. Another factor is that some people do know they have it and are not getting treated for it.
The good news to this tragic story is that the police have arrested 4 people accused of distributing drugs tied to Indiana HIV outbreak on June 16th. Police searched the truck of Michael Elkins and John Morgan and found four ounces of methamphetamine, 19 Opana pills, and an assault rifle. Tyler Turner and William Thrower were also arrested in suspected distribution of these drugs linked to the outbreak. All of the suspects are being held in the Clark County Jail on drug charges.
DEA officials say Elkins traveled to Alabama to obtain Opana, a pain killer that is liquefied and injected. Elkins then traveled to Scott County to distribute the drug. Opana is currently being sold for around $160 per pill. This profit makes for a very lucrative business, hence the outbreak. You have dealers pinpointing a certain area that have people willing to pay that price for the drug, as well as people that know what kind of high Opana will give them and â€œneedâ€ more of it, also known as Opana addicts.
What happens now? While the police have arrested 4 dealers in the area, this does not mean the outbreak stops. You have dealers pinpointing a certain area that have people willing to pay that price for the drug, as well as people that know what kind of high Opana will give them and â€œneedâ€ more of it, also known as Opana addicts. While the police have arrested 4 dealers in the area, this does not mean the outbreak stops. As the police always say, you remove one drug dealer, just to have another one replace him or her. This should be a time of education and reinforcing the harmful effects of drugs.