Gov. Eric J. Holcomb today applauded new provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicating a nearly 18% decrease in overdose deaths in Indiana, the second highest percentage decrease among all 50 states.

“Hours after I was sworn in as governor in 2017, I signed an executive order creating a new cabinet-level position in state government dedicated to reversing the trend of overdose deaths,” Gov. Holcomb said. “In the seven years since, Indiana has taken thoughtful steps to address this epidemic. This encouraging trend underscores the collective efforts and strategic initiatives implemented to combat substance use throughout our great state.”

An estimated 107,543 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in 2023, marking a 3% decline nationally compared to 2022, according to the latest provisional figures reported Wednesday by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics.

In Indiana, an estimated 2,190 individuals died by drug overdose in 2023, a 17.85% decrease compared to 2022. Indiana is among four states that reported the largest year-over-year declines of 15% or more in overdose deaths in 2023.

Since taking office, Gov. Holcomb has placed a significant emphasis on curbing drug overdoses. In 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved an extension to Indiana’s existing Section 1115 Medicaid demonstration waiver, expanding coverage for a full-range of substance use disorder treatment services to Hoosier Medicaid members.

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction has expanded residential treatment beds by 385% since 2017, accounting for a total of 2,900 beds statewide, and the total number of outpatient addiction treatment providers has increased by 8%.

In September 2023, Gov. Holcomb unveiled Shatterproof Treatment Atlas, a free, confidential tool to connect Hoosiers in need with appropriate addiction treatment and deliver user-friendly information about the quality of available programs.

“From the outset of his administration, Gov. Holcomb has emphasized the need for an all-hands-on-deck approach to combat the drug epidemic,” said Douglas Huntsinger, executive director for drug prevention, treatment and enforcement for the State of Indiana. “These numbers are a testament to the collaborative efforts of countless stakeholders who have contributed to Indiana’s comprehensive treatment and recovery infrastructure.”

Through a partnership with Overdose Lifeline, Inc., an Indiana nonprofit dedicated to helping those affected by substance use disorder, the State of Indiana is distributing roughly 24,000 doses of opioid-reversal agent naloxone each month.

In recent months, FSSA has dedicated over $30 million of the State’s share of national opioid settlement funds to support the creation of 440 new recovery residence beds, implement 15 harm reduction street outreach teams, and expand behavioral health initiatives in the state judicial and correctional systems.

“While we celebrate this progress, it is not lost on us the thousands of Hoosiers who have lost their lives or are currently living with this disease,” Gov. Holcomb said. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to furthering efforts to prevent substance use, expand access to treatment, and support Hoosiers on their path to recovery,”

Read more about the State’s efforts in the Next Level Recovery Progress Report, released in December 2023.