Brooks: Opioid funding focusing on treatment centers

Ken de la Bastide | The Herald BulletinRep. Susan Brooks on Friday toured several new businesses that have opened in downtown Anderson. She started the tour at Oakley Brothers Distillery.

ANDERSON — The focus of federal funds flowing to states as a result of the opioid crisis is on treatment and recovery centers, according to Rep. Susan Brooks.

Brooks, R-5th District, was in Anderson on Friday visiting several new businesses that have opened in the downtown area.

She said Indiana recently was awarded $27.8 million in addition to the $21 million the state previously received.

“We’re very much focused on treatment, recovery centers and research,” Brooks said. “Some of the funding will be focused on the court system.”

She said the funds are being provided with the intention of allowing the states to determine the best way to use the money.

“The Indiana Department of Child Services and the courts need a lot of help,” Brooks said. “That’s because there are so many kids that are neglected and in the court system because their parents are addicted.”

She said there is a need for placement options for those children because in many instances, families can provide the needed care.

“I hope some of the funds will come to Anderson,” Brooks said of the federal dollars. “The problem is so serious right now that we should be supporting the entities that do exist.”

She said another problem is a lack of trained addiction specialists as new treatment facilities and beds become available.

Brooks' opponent in the November election, Dee Thornton, said she is pleased legislation has been passed that provides funding to Indiana.

"We have been dealing with the epidemic for a long time," she said. "I hope the funds are evenly distributed. There should be a strong focus on prevention."

Thornton said there should be a way to measure which areas of Indiana have the greatest need in order to effectively use the funding.

Regarding the ongoing tariff battle with China, Brooks said she was pleased that new trade agreements apparently have been reached between the administration of President Donald Trump and neighboring Canada and Mexico.

“That should help even the playing field and open up some new markets,” she said. “It will take longer with China, which is a concern.”

Brooks said the tariffs on steel, aluminum and consumer goods may remain in place a little bit longer because the negotiations with China will take longer.

She said President Trump is planning to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss trade.

“Those types of meetings are very important to continue the dialogue,” Brooks said. “China for a very long time has been taking our intellectual properties. It has even happened with a business in Anderson.”

Thornton said the United States needs to take a balanced approach to trade issues in general.

"We're in a self-inflicted trade war," she said. "It is affecting our relationship with China and other parts of the world. We haven't seen the impact on the consumers but some companies are already cutting back. Clearly we need to do something about China."

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.