Across the United States, illegal drug use has increased, and heroin use and overdose deaths have risen to epidemic proportions.1,2 Substance abuse was identified as the #1 public safety concern and #2 overall health concern by Hendricks County residents in the 2015 Hendricks County Community Health Assessment Survey (CHA Survey).3 It was also identified by participants in the focus groups and town hall meetings as a top health concern in Hendricks County as part of their discussions around mental health.4 Lastly, the Forces of Change Assessment participants identified substance abuse as one of the most influential forces impacting health in Hendricks County, identifying many threats (reduction in the cost of illegal substances and higher prescription drug use) and opportunities (new laws that provide opportunities for collaboration on substance abuse, faith communities taking an active role in substance abuse awareness, and the growth of the county’s Drug Court) surrounding the issue in Hendricks County.5

Additional primary and secondary data shows why substance abuse is a growing problem in Hendricks County. Drug overdose was the leading cause of injury death in the United States in 2013, and it claims about 16 lives per year in Hendricks County.6,7 Additionally, 25% of all motor vehicle deaths were due to alcohol-impaired driving, and 15% of the adult population reports drinking excessively.8,9 Substance abuse behaviors are also high among youth populations, with 17.9% of Central Indiana 12th grade students reporting monthly marijuana use; 30.4% alcohol use; and 5.4% prescription drug use.10 The impact of substance abuse also stretches into public safety, as the Hendricks County Prosecutor’s Office reported over 600 drug-related offenses in 2013.11


PRIORITY AREA LEADER: Jenny Bates, Wellness Program Director, Hendricks Regional Health

PRIORITY AREA PARTNERS: Hendricks Regional Health, Hendricks County Sheriff’s Department, Office of U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, Hendricks County Health Department, Hendricks County Council

2016-2018 WORK PLAN

GOAL: By December 31, 2018, reduce the drug poisoning death rate in Hendricks County from 10.2 per 100,000 population to 9.7 per 100,000 population as reported by the County Health Rankings.

SHORT-TERM OBJECTIVE:  By December 31, 2016, develop a comprehensive substance abuse prevention and intervention guidebook for key community members in Hendricks County as reported by the Substance Abuse work group.


Conduct a needs assessment of the community to assess current substance abuse prevention and intervention activities, gaps in services, and available resources.

Identify key community members (e.g. law enforcement, schools, public health practitioners, faith-based organizations) working with populations at high risk of substance abuse.

Write sample messages and intervention strategies, and outline resources for use by key community members based on results from the needs assessment.

Disseminate resource guide to key community members and the general public.

MID-TERM OBJECTIVE: By December 31, 2017, add two new medication and/or sharps drop-off sites in underserved areas of Hendricks County as reported by the Substance Abuse work group.


Assess current data on service and resource gaps, and map current asset locations.

Identify possible locations for drop-off sites and determine resource needs for developing new drop-off sites.

Acquire resources and set-up drop-off sites.

Develop awareness and education messaging and add to the substance abuse guidebook for distribution.

LONG-TERM OBJECTIVE: By December 31, 2018, train 125 Hendricks County law enforcement officers or laypersons on recognizing and responding to opioid overdose and equip them with needed overdose resources as reported by the Substance Abuse work group.


Assess all law enforcement agencies in Hendricks County on need for opioid overdose response training and overdose medications.

Develop training guidelines for law enforcement officers on recognizing and responding to opioid overdose.

Assess available resources for acquiring and distributing opioid overdose medications and sharps disposal to trained law enforcement officers.

Train and distribute equipment to participating law enforcement officers.

Develop awareness and education messaging about training and add to the substance abuse guidebook.


Cummins Behavioral Health Systems

Cummins Behavioral Health Systems is located in Avon and provides outpatient group and individual substance use treatment, as well as other mental health services. 

Fairbanks Alcohol and Drug Addiction Treatment

Fairbanks is a non-profit alcohol and drug treatment center located in Plainfield providing outpatient services to men, women, adolescents, and their families.

Hamilton Center, Inc.

Hamilton Center provides outpatient addictions treatment services to adults and adolescents in Plainfield.

The Willow Center

The Willow Center provides outpatient substance abuse education and treatment, other with other mental health services, in Brownsburg.

Hendricks County Drug Court

The Hendricks County Drug Court works with high-risk drug offenders to provide treatment and accountability in lieu of prison.

Hendricks County Substance Abuse Task Force

The Hendricks County Substance Abuse Task Force is a community coalition that supports substance use and abuse education, intervention, and treatment through grant funding and partner collaboration. They meet every month at Hendricks Regional Health.

Stopping Minors with Alcohol Response Team (SMART) Program

The SMART Program uses off duty police officers to make compliance checks of businesses who sell or serve alcohol to prevent sales to minors, along with responding to social events involving minors and alcohol in Hendricks County.

Hendricks County Solid Waste Management District Tox-Away Days

Hendricks County residents can drop off unused medications and used sharps for free disposal at any of the five yearly Tox-Away Days held throughout the county.

Drop Boxes for Prescription Medications

Plainfield Police Department, Avon Police Department, and the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Department provide free medication drop boxes for unused and/or expired medications. Plainfield and Avon drop boxes are open Monday through Friday during business hours; the Sheriff’s Department drop box is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2015). DrugFacts: nationwide trends. Retrieved from

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Today’s heroin epidemic. Retrieved from

3. Hendricks County Health Partnership. (2015). 2015 Hendricks County community health assessment survey results: Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

4. Hendricks County Health Partnership. (2015). Public meetings and key informant interviews summary: Microsoft Word document.

5. Hendricks County Health Partnership. (2015). 2015 Hendricks County forces of change assessment – brainstorming and threats and opportunities discussion results: Microsoft Word document.

6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Prescription drug overdose data. Retrieved from

7. County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. (2015). Drug poisoning deaths: Indiana. Retrieved from

8. County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. (2015). Alcohol-impaired driving deaths: Indiana. Retrieved from

9. County Health Rankings and Roadmaps. (2015). Excessive drinking: Indiana. Retrieved from

10. Indiana Prevention Resource Center. (2015). The Indiana prevention resource center 2015 prevalence statistics main findings: Indiana youth survey. Retrieved from

11. Governor’s Commission for a Drug Free Indiana. (2013) Comprehensive community plan – Hendricks county: Microsoft Office document.