The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index has consistently found the Hoosier State to be among the worst for individual well-being. And in a new report released Wednesday, Indiana landed among the top ten states for mood-altering medication use.
According to the polling firm, Gallup, more than 22 percent of Hoosiers claim to use prescription or illegal drugs regularly.
Tracy Brooks is a professor at Manchester University’s College of Pharmacy, and a physician. She says the high usage rate is largely a matter of accessibility.
“Most patients that have these medications are either prescribed them, or they’re getting them from friends and family,” says Brooks.
Brooks says that’s because Indiana doctors are too quick to write prescriptions for things that should be addressed with physical therapy and mental health treatment, although she says the state is severely lacking those resources.
Indiana also ranks high in obesity, which leads to things like chronic pain and arthritis, which leads to more painkillers in the community.
Brooks says tighter regulations on prescriptions can have a negative effect – Vicodin has become less available and more expensive, so many users are turning to heroine.
Increased needle use has recently caused a severe HIV outbreak in southern Indiana.