The Indiana Opioid Epidemic and Minority Impact

This event happened on February 13, 2018 and it was a virtual panel discussion.

When a New York State Senator said, “It’s not a ghetto drug. It’s happening to doctor’s kids,” he was referring to opioids.  He was also describing two mindsets – one focused on criminality, the other on treating a disease.

And many perceive racial and ethnic implications in these two ways of thinking about the opioid epidemic.  The topic is explored in a 90-minute conversation hosted by WFYI’s Side Effects health reporting unit in partnership with the Indiana Minority Health Coalition.


Guests:  Jocelyn Bush, MD – specialist in anesthesiology and pain management; Brad Ray, PhD – mental health and criminal justice researcher, Indiana Univ-Purdue Univ-Indianapolis; Ronald Sullivan – director of Harvard’s Criminal Justice Institute; Joselyn Whitticker – president of the Grant County (IN) Minority Health Coalition

Moderator:  Michael Twyman, PhD – consultant and associate faculty member at Indiana Univ’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy


Pills, Bills & Policy

December 12, 2017 Prescription Drug Monitoring and Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

This was the first Side Effects Public Media event in a series about opioids and their impact on Indiana. The topic was prescription drug monitoring programs, prescription guidelines and pain management. You can find our reporting related to this topic here and here.

Kicking off this event was Jim McClelland who serves as the Executive Director for Drug Prevention, Treatment, and Enforcement for the State of Indiana. This presentation focused on an overview of the opioid epidemic and its impact in Indiana. Mr. McClelland spoke about how Indiana is dealing with this complex problem by leveraging resources strategically to make a positive impact. He also touched on legislation and the state’s work in regards to prescription guidelines and Indiana’s prescription drug monitoring program INSPECT.

Dr. Chris Harle is an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the IU Fairbanks School of Public Health. In his presentation entitled “Opioid Prescribing Decisions: Patients, Providers, Pain and Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs” , Dr. Harle shares research and data highlighting workflows and challenges for clinicians.

Lastly is the panel discussion followed by a Q&A session. This panel explores how Indiana can help health care providers manage patients’ pain without fueling addition, with an emphasis on prescription drug monitoring programs, how they are used, and what potential they have.  

Endings Matter

This Side Effects Public Media event focused on end of life care, and the value of planning for it in advance. You can find our reporting related to this topic here and here.