INDIANAPOLIS -- Health officials in Marion County are expected to declare a "public health emergency" early next year because of the drug crisis in the hopes that they will be able to lay the groundwork for the county to launch its own needle exchange program.
A spokesman with the Marion County Public Health Department says they believe the opioid crisis has met the threshold to move forward with the declaration and the director is just waiting to get a full picture of the number of drug overdoses in the county for 2017 before declaring it.
If the declaration is made, the full city-county council would still need to approve the creation of a needle exchange program.
In 2016, 275 people died from opioid overdoses in Marion County.
Governor Eric Holcomb signed a bill into law this year that allows counties to start their own needle exchange programs without state approval. Seven counties currently operate a program and two others have ended their needle exchange programs this year.
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