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Celebrate public health

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Lloyd Arnold
Indiana House Representative District 74

As we are wrapping up National Public Health Week, I thought I would take the time to share some of the ways the Indiana General Assembly addressed the issue of public health this session.  Public health is considered the protection and improvement upon health of families and communities. In order to do this, there must be a promotion of healthy lifestyles as well as educating the public on disease and injury prevention.

Even though the week is coming to an end, I thought I would share some of the ways the Indiana General Assembly tackled issues relating to public health this past session. I am very proud of the work we were able to accomplish from combating prescription drug abuse, to ensuring that high school student athletes are safer on the field and questioning the possibility of developing a state program to assist in the cost of hearing aids for minors.

This year’s theme for National Public Health Week is “Public Health: Start Here” and each day focused on a specific way we can make our lives, families and communities healthier.  The focus is on getting healthy from the start - being prepared for emergencies and disasters, eating well and taking preventative measures when it comes to health.

This session, we wanted to combat the issue of prescription drug abuse which is unfortunately plaguing our state. I was proud to support a measure that will help to identify people who are abusing controlled substances by allowing prescribers access to a person’s prescription history and information. Not only that, the legislation concentrated on tackling drug abuse at Indiana’s drug treatment centers and methadone clinics. While more expensive, there are other medications that can be used instead of methadone and have proven results, without the harsh effect of addiction.  For more information on prescription drug abuse, visit www.bitter pill.in.gov.

As a veteran, I was also very honored to support Senate Enrolled Act 180. Currently there are about 490,380 Hoosier veterans and there is a nationwide epidemic of suicide due to post traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury among vets who are just returning home.

This legislation requires a study to be conducted this summer on new treatments for PTSD and TBI. Additionally, the study will look into how Indiana distributes benefits to veterans. It is important to ensure that those who return from combat understand the benefits they have earned.

These are just a couple of measures we addressed this year. Public health is very important to me, for more information on public health legislation from this session, feel free to visit www.iga. in.gov and search legislation by subject or feel free to contact me at my office at (317) 232-9833 or h74@iga.in.gov.