FORMER HEALTH COMMISSIONER BLAMES POLS FOR NOT PUSHING VAX:  Indiana’s pace of COVID-19 vaccination shots has fallen to its lowest level since the shots became available last winter (AP). Dr. Richard Feldman, who was state health commissioner under Democratic Gov. Frank O’Bannon, said he was concerned that the falling vaccination pace will leave too few people immunized, allowing COVID-19 to “smolder and smolder and smolder” through the population.Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb hasn’t participated in a state COVID-19 news briefing since late March soon after he announced he would let the statewide mask mandate expire even as he has continued renewing the state’s public health emergency that now extends until Oct. 31. “We’ll continue to lean into making sure that those resources are readily accessible, easy to access, and we try to be as persuasive as we can,” Holcomb said Friday. “If people don’t want to take the vaccine, then that’s their right.” Feldman said he was worried that another surge was possible as the weather turns colder and people are spending more time indoors at a time when face mask usage has noticeably declined. It will be up to businesses to push greater vaccinations as political opposition among conservatives prevents state officials from mandating any safeguards “or really press individuals to try to do the right thing,” Feldman said. “I mean they say it once in a while, but it’s not a priority,” Feldman said. “And it’s not politically feasible right now in this climate.”

 

STUDY CAN'T SAY HOW MUCH IS SPENT ON INDIANA JAILS: It costs at least $240 million a year to keep people locked up in local jails in Indiana, with some counties spending around a quarter of their yearly budget on incarceration. That’s according to a new study from the nonprofit Vera Institute of Justice. And that number is likely much, much larger (Smith, Indiana Public Media). The Vera Institute wasn’t able to get data from 18 of Indiana’s local jails, including the state’s largest, in Elkhart and Marion counties. But more than that, research associate Bea Halbach-Singh said Indiana makes it difficult for the public to know how much it’s costing them to keep people locked up.

 

TIME IN INDIANA COUNTY JAIL CAN BE DEATH SENTENCE: People in nearly every Indiana county are dying, often with little fanfare, inside their local jails. It might be easy to just blame sheriffs and jailers, but that would be letting others off the hook. Virtually every level of government shares in the blame (IndyStar). Indiana state lawmakers shifted prison inmates to jails without providing adequate funds. The department of correction routinely cites deficiencies in jails, yet doesn’t press for improvements. County officials fail to address chronic overcrowding and other jail problems. Sheriffs don’t always provide adequate training or supervision. Jailers often default to restraint and force. IndyStar identified deaths in 75 jails and five other county-operated lock-up facilities.

 

HOUSES PASSES DEBT CEILING HIKE: Members of the House on Tuesday pushed through a short-term increase to the nation’s debt limit, ensuring the federal government can continue fully paying its bills into December and temporarily averting an unprecedented default that would have decimated the economy (AP). The $480 billion increase in the country’s borrowing ceiling cleared the Senate last week on a party-line vote. The House approved it swiftly so President Joe Biden can sign it into law this week. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had warned that steps to stave off a default on the country’s debts would be exhausted by Monday, and from that point, the department would soon be unable to fully meet the government’s financial obligations.

 

BLOOMFIELD WOMAN SENTENCED IN INSURRECTION CASE: A Bloomfield, Indiana, woman was sentenced to 14 days in jail Tuesday afternoon for taking part in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Dona Sue Bissey, 52, will also have to pay $500 in restitution and complete 60 hours of community service. She will not have probation afterward (AP). Bissey's attorney, Cara Halverson, asked the judge not to sentence Bissey to jail time because she is against the COVID-19 vaccine and wearing masks, according to WUSA reporter Jordan Fischer. Halverson argued Bissey's doctor had not told her to get vaccinated, but the judge said there was no evidence of that.

 

AMERICANS QUITTING JOBS IN DROVES: One reason America’s employers are having trouble filling jobs was starkly illustrated in a report Tuesday: Americans are quitting in droves (AP). The Labor Department said that quits jumped to 4.3 million in August, the highest on records dating back to December 2000, and up from 4 million in July. Hiring also slowed in August, the report showed, and the number of jobs available fell to 10.4 million, from a record high of 11.1 million the previous month. The data strongly suggests that the delta variant wreaked havoc on the job market in August. As COVID-19 cases surged, quits jumped in restaurants and hotels and rose in other public-facing jobs, such as retail and education.

 

SHATNER POISED FOR SPACE: Actor William Shatner counted down Wednesday to his wildest role yet: riding a rocket into space, courtesy of “Star Trek” fan Jeff Bezos (AP). Best known for his role as Captain Kirk, the 90-year-old Shatner joined three other passengers for the planned launch from West Texas. Bezos’ space travel company, Blue Origin, invited Shatner on the brief jaunt to the fringes of the final frontier, which will make him the oldest person in space. It will be Blue Origin’s second passenger flight, using the same capsule and rocket that Bezos used for his own launch three months ago. The trip should last just 10 minutes, with the fully automated capsule reacing a maximum altitude of about 66 miles (106 kilometers) before parachuting back into the desert.

 

SPACE TOURISM CAN WORK FOR COMMUNITIES: As space enthusiasts line up to purchase suborbital and orbital flights, communities that want to be known as space tourism hubs have a great opportunity to plan for future developments on Earth (Howey Politics Indiana). Jonathon Day, an associate professor who specializes in sustainable tourism in Purdue University’s White Lodging-J.W. Marriott, Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management in the College of Health and Human Sciences, says community leaders and business owners should look at what makes their communities special as they prepare for tourists. “Space tourism is offering these communities and regions an opportunity for economic development,” Day says. “We know these activities are going to increase the number of visitors to these destinations. Now would be a great time for the community leaders to take a deeper look at things they will need for the future.”

 

ASPIRIN NO LONGER RECOMMENDED TO PREVENT HEART ATTACKS, STROKES: Doctors should no longer routinely begin prescribing a daily regimen of low-dose aspirin to most people at high risk of a first heart attack or stroke, according to new draft guidelines by a U.S. panel of experts (New York Times). The proposed recommendation is based on mounting evidence that the risk of serious side effects far outweighs the benefit of what was once considered a remarkably cheap weapon in the fight against heart disease. The U.S. task force also wants to strongly discourage anyone 60 and older from starting a low-dose aspirin regimen, citing concerns about the age-related heightened risk for life-threatening bleeding.

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: In Thursday's weekly edition of Howey Politics Indiana, we'll look at the potential 2024 Indiana Democrat gubernatorial field now that Joe Donnelly is headed to Rome, and we'll see how conservative Republicans have refuted the notion that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Look for it around 9 a.m. Thursday. - Brian A. Howey

 

Campaigns

 

INDEMS TOUT ARP: The Indiana Democratic Party celebrated the continued opportunity President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan is delivering for Indiana’s future. This time, the Rescue Plan is set to bring about $500 million to help with economic development proposals across the state (Howey Politics Indiana). The investment is once again a “huge shot in the arm” for Indiana’s business community and follows other critical investments that’ll help small businesses across the state, including $250 million in broadband expansion and $540 million for childcare services. Indiana Democrats have delivered for Hoosier families, and they will hit the road over the next year to sell this record ahead of the critical 2022 elections. But, the same cannot be said for the Indiana Republican Party whose leaders like U.S. Senator Todd Young and Governor Eric Holcomb said “NO” to the dough but now try to take credit for the investments the Rescue Plan has made on Indiana’s future. Republicans continue to show they have no vision for Indiana and would rather put their extreme partisanship ahead of Hoosier families.

 

OBAMA TO CAMPAIGN FOR McAULIFFE: Former President Barack Obama will join a rally for Terry McAuliffe next week, another sign of the urgency national Democrats feel in Virginia's gubernatorial race (NBC News). McAuliffe announced Obama's visit — scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 23, in Richmond — during an appearance Tuesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "There's going to be a lot of excitement," McAuliffe said. "The stakes are so huge. People don't understand. They come out in presidential years, but they have to come out in this off-year."

 

Polls

 

TRUMP LEADS GOP FIELD: A Politico/Morning Consult Poll has Donald Trump leading a prospective Republican presidential field with 47% while Mike Pence and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis were the only other contenders to break double digits at 12%.

 

Congress

 

BUCSHON VOTES AGAINST DEBT CEILING HIKE: U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-Ind.-08) today voted against raising the debt limit when it passed by a partisan vote of 219-206 (Howey Politics Indiana). “Congressional Democrats have been more than happy to pass legislation spending trillions of taxpayer dollars without any input or votes from Republicans in Congress, so they shouldn’t expect Republicans in Congress to help them raise the debt ceiling - especially when Democrats can pass a debt ceiling increase with only Democrat votes using reconciliation,” said Congressman Bucshon. “Today, Democrats in Congress are showing that they are afraid to govern by refusing to actually debate or hold a standalone vote for a $480 Billion debt limit increase, instead “deeming” it passed with a procedural gimmick that denied taxpayers the transparency of a standalone vote that this issue demands. It is disappointing that Speaker Pelosi continues to engage in partisan gimmicks, rather than work across the aisle and go through regular order to address crises facing our country.”

 

YOUNG ON BORDER WALL CANCELLATIONS: U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced quietly this weekend that it has cancelled border wall construction contracts in the Laredo and Rio Grande Valley sectors (Howey Politics Indiana). “The Biden-Harris administration is doing everything in its power to skirt the law Congress passed requiring construction of a border wall. As record numbers of illegal immigrants stream into the US, Democrats continue to look the other way, creating a de facto open Southern Border. First, Vice President Harris – our “Border Czar” – skipped a border security meeting in Mexico. Now, the Administration is quietly cancelling construction contracts in favor of more environmental studies. Perhaps Democrats believe that, instead of a wall, we can guard the border with a wall of regulatory paperwork. These unacceptable and dangerous actions threaten the safety and security of our nation.”

 

The HOUSE and SENATE are out.

 

General Assembly

 

LEGISLATORS SEEK DRIVING SAFETY LEGISLATION: State Rep. Blake Johnson, D-Indianapolis and State Rep. Mitch Gore, D-Indianapolis, sent a letter to the governor’s office introducing a plan to address reckless driving to help prevent tragedies like this (Columbus Republic). “I just want people to remember that, you know, I know it feels important now, getting to work a little bit sooner or getting to your destination quicker,” Gore said. “But if you were to hit and seriously injure somebody, all of a sudden that would seem completely trivial.” Although there had been a decrease in traffic because of stay-at-home orders and more work- from-home opportunities, the roads somehow became more dangerous. Nationwide in 2020 traffic fatalities increased over 7%, even though miles traveled in vehicles decreased by 13%. In 2020 almost 37,000 people were killed in a vehicle crash. On Indiana roads, 813 people were killed in 2020. That is an 8% increase from 2019.

 

BAUER ANNOUNCES FARM WORK INITIATIVES: State Representative Maureen Bauer (D-South Bend), ranking Democrat on the Indiana House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee announced initiatives to support farmer workers and the agricultural industry (Howey Politics Indiana). "As Harvest Season continues, and on National Farmers Day, it is important to recognize the contributions of agriculture workers and enact policies that will support our state's rich agricultural resources and the people they serve," Bauer said. "Supporting agriculture and hard-working farmers is important to maintaining our state's economy and feeding the nation. Indiana is home to nearly 57,000 farms and over 94,000 farmers, with the agricultural industry contributing over $31 billion and more than 107,000 jobs to the state's economy.”

 

State

 

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB SCHEDULE - Gov. Holcomb Public Schedule for Wednesday, Oct. 13: Saab Grand Opening, 10 a.m., Gov. Holcomb, Purdue President Mitch Daniels, Micael Johansson, global president & CEO, Saab and Erik Smith, U.S. president & CEO, Saab. The governor will give brief remarks and participate in a Q & A., Saab West Lafayette Aerospace Facility (indoor event), 2099 Hypersonic Pkwy, West Lafayette.

 

MILITARY: AFGHAN REFUGEES AWAITING RESETTLEMENT - More than 6,600 Afghan refugees who began arriving at the Indiana National Guard’s Camp Atterbury training post nearly six weeks ago are awaiting resettlement (AP). Additional evacuees are expected to arrive in the coming weeks, although it’s unclear how many, said Mark Howell, regional spokesman for the federal Transportation Security Administration overseeing Operation Allies Welcome. Officials said they’re also uncertain if the refugees will be permanently resettled by early November, as hoped. Howell said in a telephone interview Friday that many Afghans are still completing medical and security screening checks. Once cleared, they’ll work with nongovernmental organizations to determine housing assignments, sponsor families and work authorizations before they can leave the post.

 

SUPREME COURT: RULING ON SON'S INHERITANCE - The Indiana Supreme Court has upheld a woman’s will that made her adult son’s inheritance dependent on whether he was married (AP). The court said in a 5-0 ruling last week that nothing in state law prohibits a will from making an inheritance based on certain behavior that must be undertaken, or avoided, by the beneficiary, The Times reported. The question reached the Indiana Supreme Court after a woman from southern Indiana’s Jackson County died in 2016. Her trust awarded her adult son his share of her estate outright if he was unmarried at the time of her death, but required his share go into a subtrust controlled by her adult daughter if the son still was married to his third wife. The Indiana Court of Appeals had ruled last year those conditions were an illegal restraint on marriage.

 

WORKFORCE: CHAMBER SAYS EMPLOYERS STRUGGLE TO FIND WORKERS - Hoosier businesses are back to dealing with the issues that were top of mind prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual Indiana Chamber of Commerce survey shows more than half say they are unable to find enough qualified workers (Indiana Public Media). In the latest Indiana Chamber employer workforce survey, 72 percent of businesses in Indiana told the chamber the supply of applicants does not meet their needs, up from 50 percent last year. Jason Bearce is the chamber’s vice president of education and workforce development. He said businesses can no longer avoid addressing external factors including child care, housing and transportation. “Increasingly, I think employers are recognizing that one, they have to, they have to market their community and what the community has to offer as much as they're marketing their individual business,” said Bearce. “But also these kind of wraparound type supports – that historically have not really been considered to be the employer's role – are at least part of the consideration employees are making when they think about, you know, where to work.”

 

PURDUE: PARTNERS WITH RED CROSS TO FORM CLUBS - Purdue University Global is once again demonstrating its innovative thinking by partnering with the American Red Cross to launch a first-of-its-kind virtual Red Cross Club (Howey Politics Indiana). Purdue Global students from across the country will collaborate on Red Cross service projects to help collect lifesaving blood, prepare families for disasters and ensure that the Red Cross has the resources it needs to deliver its mission each day. “The wonderful thing about virtual clubs is students can help from anywhere, and they don’t need to help in-person,” said Patti Pelletier, senior director of learning and leadership community for Purdue Global and the mastermind of the virtual Red Cross Club. “They can help promote blood drives by getting the word out on social media, set up an online fundraising campaign for disaster relief or even just give an online talk to share what the Red Cross does.

 

ISHAA: MERCY RULE SET FOR BASKETBALL -  The Indiana High School Athletic Association voted unanimously on a Mercy Rule for basketball (WLFI-TV). Now, if a team is winning by 35 points or more after the first half, a running clock will be in place for the remainder of the game. The clock will only stop for five reasons. 1) If there is an injury timeout; 2) A charged team timeout; 3) Intermission between the third and fourth quarters; 4) Anytime a foul is called and it results in a free throw; 5) Any time officials deem it necessary for safety reasons. The new rule will be in place for this upcoming 2021 through 2022 season for both the boys and the girls. The running clock will be in all games at all levels of play including the state tournament.

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN REOPENS LAND BORDERS FOR VAXXED - The Biden administration will open up U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico to non-essential travel starting in November — but only to those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (Axios). Government officials and business leaders have decried the economic impact pandemic travel restrictions have had on border communities. They have called for the U.S. to reopen the borders given high, and rising, vaccinations rates there. What's happening: Officials will implement land border vaccine requirements in two phases, an administration official told reporters on a Tuesday evening call.

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SEEKS TO STREAMLINE PORT BACKLOG - The Biden administration worked with private companies, port officials and unions to get the Port of L.A. running 24/7 to reduce the backlog of cargo ships floating in the Pacific (Axios). The IMF yesterday cut its global growth forecast, citing supply-chain kinks. Shipping logjams are disrupting everything from retail to remodeling to rental cars. President Biden will meet today with leaders from the ports of L.A. and Long Beach, and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, to discuss how to fix backlogs in Southern California.

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SCHEDULE - President Biden's schedule — 9:30 a.m.: The president will receive the President’s Daily Brief. — 11:15 a.m.: Biden will sign into law H.R. 2278, an act “To designate the September 11th National Memorial Trail Route, and for other purposes.” — 1:45 p.m.: Biden will meet with senior officials and stakeholders to discuss global supply chain issues, and will deliver remarks on the issue at 2:20 p.m. VP Harris: The vice president will meet with Barbados PM Mia Amor Mottley at 4:20 p.m. The White House Covid-19 Response Team and public health officials will hold a briefing at 11 a.m. Press secretary Jen Psaki will brief at 1 p.m.

 

SCOTUS: DECLINES TO HEAR INDIANA TOLL ROAD CASE - The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case regarding the Indiana Toll Road (Connett, WIBC). Truck drivers filed a lawsuit, claiming a 2018 increase in tolls on the Indiana Toll Road was unconstitutional. The increase was 35 percent on “heavy trucks,” which are those with three or more axles. Earlier this year, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that it was constitutional, adding “truckers who want to avoid the tolls can use the many free roads in Indiana.” They also said “citizens of Indiana who use the Toll Road to haul freight from Elkhart to Gary pay the same rate per mile, per axle, as do citizens of Wisconsin who haul freight from Ohio through Indiana to Illinois and beyond.”

 

WYOMING: AUTOPSY REVEALS GABBY PETITO WAS STRANGLED -  Cross-country traveler Gabby Petito was strangled to death, a Wyoming coroner announced Tuesday (AP). Petito, 22, died three to four weeks before her body was found Sept. 19 near an undeveloped camping area along the border of Grand Teton National Park in remote northern Wyoming, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said in a news conference. It wasn’t clear if the determination might lead to additional charges against Petito’s boyfriend and traveling partner, Brian Laundrie, who is considered a person of interest in her disappearance and remains unaccounted for. Blue declined to say more about the autopsy or the case overall, saying he was prevented by Wyoming law that limits what coroners can release.

 

NBA: NETS SUSPEND IRVING FOR NOT VAXXING - Kyrie Irving won’t play or practice for the Brooklyn Nets this season until he gets vaccinated, the team said Tuesday, a move that will increase the pressure on the NBA superstar in what has quickly become one of the world’s most consequential Covid-19 workplace standoffs (Wall Street Journal). Irving is currently ineligible to play home games for the Nets, the heavy favorites to win the championship in the NBA season that begins next week, under a New York City order that requires proof of vaccination to enter an indoor sports arena like the Barclays Center.

 

MLB: HOUSTON END SOX SEASON 10-1 - The Chicago White Sox had their sights set on advancing in the playoffs after running away with the AL Central. Stacked with stars and led by Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa, another early exit wasn't what they envisioned. Chicago's season came to an emphatic end Tuesday, with a 10-1 loss to AL West champion Houston in Game 4 of a Division Series that wasn't close (AP). They never got the pitching and only occasionally got the hitting that carried them to their first division championship in 13 years and gave them back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time. And after getting knocked out by Oakland in the wild-card round last year, they bowed out in humbling fashion against the Astros. Not what owner Jerry Reisndorf had in mind when he helped lure La Russa out of retirement, raising more than a few eyebrows by replacing Rick Renteria.

 

Local

 

FORT WAYNE: COUNCIL TO SET SALARIES -  At the Fort Wayne City Council meeting Tuesday, the board voted to move the date in which it would vote on the salaries for a number of elected officials and public safety positions (WANE-TV). The board was scheduled to vote on the salaries for elected officials in Fort Wayne, every appointed officer, employee, deputy assistant, departmental and institutional head in the Civil City and City Utilities as well as all the members of the Division of Public Safety. Employees salaries listed include: The Mayor: $141,881; Common Council Members: $24,581; and City Clerk: $90,352.

 

INDIANAPOLIS: IMPD SGT CHARGED FOR USE OF FORCE - The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department held a news conference Tuesday to discuss the criminal investigation of a sergeant for improper use of force during a September arrest (WTHR-TV). According to court documents, Sgt. Eric Huxley, who has spent 14 years with IMPD and is assigned to the downtown district, has been charged with official misconduct of a public servant and battery resulting in moderate bodily injury. Both charges are felonies. IMPD said Huxley was assisting another officer making an arrest on Monument Circle when the incident happened on Friday, Sept. 24. Upon learning of the investigation on Wed. Oct. 6, Chief Randal Taylor launched a special investigation into Huxley's use of force.

 

INDIANAPOLIS: OSILI STATEMENT ON HUXLEY INDICTMENT - The following statement may attributed to Indianapolis City-County Council President Vop Osili in response to the announcement today of charges filed against IMPD Seargeant Eric Huxley (Howey Politics Indiana): As a member of this community, I condemn the actions of Sgt. Huxley seen on this video and offer my sympathies to Mr. Vaughn. As a member of the Council, I want to thank Chief Taylor for working collaboratively with the Council on increasing transparency, including through implementation of the body-worn cameras that captured this horrendous action. I am committed to working with IMPD leadership in the coming year to establish the early warning system funded this summer to detect and root out such problematic behavior.

 

INDIANAPOLIS: ROBINSON STATEMENT ON HUXLEY INDICTMENT - The following statement may attributed to Indianapolis City-County Council Public Safety Committee Chair Leroy Robinson in response to the announcement today of charges filed against IMPD Seargeant Eric Huxley (Howey Politics Indiana): "It is with great sadness that we all witnessed the IMPD body worn camera footage of the incident involving one of our homeless neighbors. We are thankful that the gentlemen is recovering well from his injuries and equally thankful for the swift response from our Chief of Police and our Marion County Prosecutor. The Council’s investment in body worn cameras is quickly providing the much needed transparency that our community has been pushing for."

 

INDIANAPOLIS: HOGSETT ON COMING SNOW SEASON - Mayor Joe Hogsett today joined the Indianapolis Department of Public Works (Indy DPW) at an event to highlight the preparations being made by the Indy Snow Force drivers ahead of this year's winter season. Plow drivers have already completed more than 500 hours of training behind the wheel of their trucks and in the classroom (Howey Politics Indiana). "Indy's Snow Force is fully prepared for the winter season ahead," said Mayor Hogsett. "And for all of their hard work, they have the appreciation of every motorist, bus driver, and traveler that passes through our city safely and without incident."

 

LAWRENCE: MAYOR SAYS PUBLIC SAFETY CUTS COULD OCCUR — The mayor of Lawrence said significant cuts to public safety could happen if a budget proposal by the city council is approved (WTHR-TV). Under the proposed budget, nine police officers, 11 firefighters and three dispatchers could be laid off by the end of 2022. Mayor Steve Collier said he presented a 2022 balanced budget, but the council recommendation includes a $3.6 million reduction.

 

LAKE COUNTY: OFFICIALS SEEK TO BAR INELIGIBLE BIDDERS - Lake County officials are taking steps to ensure they've closed all possible loopholes that might otherwise enable ineligible bidders to attempt to acquire tax-delinquent properties at the county's tax sales (Carden, NWI Times). The county council acknowledged Tuesday that much of the needed work was completed in April when the Indiana General Assembly approved a new state law explicitly prohibiting individuals who owe tax debts from bidding on properties at county tax sales anywhere in the state. Senate Enrolled Act 28 also bars ineligible bidders from hiding behind a business or corporate entity to acquire tax sale properties; requires tax sale bidders to acknowledge, under penalty of perjury, they are aware of the bidding eligibility standards and agree to abide by them; and provides that ineligible bidders who nevertheless make purchases at a tax sale may have their acquisitions forfeited and lose some or all of the money they paid for them.

 

JOHNSON COUNTY: FED MONEY COMING FOR DRUG PROGRAMS — In 2019, nearly 1,700 Hoosiers died from drug overdoses (WRTV). While state data hasn’t been updated for the entire year of 2020, in just the first half of the year, there were more than 1,000 overdose deaths reported. Recently the Office Of National Drug Policy announced $13.2 million in grants for 106 drug-free community support programs — two of them right here in the Hoosier state: Scott and Johnson counties.