"It's going to take a concerted effort from everybody." St. Sen. Jim Arnold said.
Arnold has spent 36 years in law enforcement.
But he says getting the drug problem under control may require a gentler touch.
"One thing we've got to do though, I think, is get away from the 'lock em up, throw away the key' mentality." Arnold said.
Arnold says one of the problems we have is that we're not getting to kids early enough to keep them off of drugs.
"We're waiting until the individuals are dealing in drugs, using the drugs, and already hooked on them." he said.
Elkhart County Health Officer Daniel Nafziger says prevention and treatment of substance abuse needs a look.
He says it's important to distinguish between experimenting with drugs and being addicted.
"But once people are addicted, I think you have to deal with the biology and physiology of addiction and not just say 'well you need more willpower in order to stop this habit." Nafziger said.
There are also laws on the books that some find troubling.
Dr. Brent Mohr of the South Bend Clinic says an Indiana law meant to track certain narcotic prescriptions...
"You have to start documenting number of pills, patients have to be seen every three to four months in the office." he said.
May be driving frustrated patients to harder drugs, like heroin.
"Possibly that legislation had a little bit of unintended consequences, as it may have caused a little bit more problems than we expected." Mohr said.
Concerns like these are sure to come to the table when the task force meets for the first time in two weeks.
Posted on September 02, 2015