INDIANAPOLIS -- Both heroin use and disease are on the rise in Indianapolis. The city is about to launch a new program that may help stop the spread of both.
At the end of 2015, more than 5,500 Indianapolis residents were diagnosed with HIV, including another 700 people who were unaware they even had the disease.
And in Indianapolis, the number of people newly diagnosed with acute Hepatitis C increased by 73 percent between 2013 and 2015. According to the health department, as many as 12,000 people in Marion County are living with chronic Hepatitis.
Intravenous drug use and needle sharing is blamed for transmitting the communicable disease of HIV and Hepatitis C.
Wednesday, Indianapolis received a $20,000 grant to put a social worker in the emergency room. The social worker would connect people who have been giving the life-saving heroin antidote of Narcan with treatment programs to beat their addiction.
With Narcan, Indianapolis has proved that it is good at saving lives. Doctors say now it is time to shift the focus on stopping addiction, which would stop the spread of disease.
Around the State of Indiana, as many as 20 counties have a needle exchange program or will soon implement one.