Featured Scholar : Brad Ray, PhD
School of Public and Environmental Affairs
The opioid epidemic is taking an increasingly severe toll on the well-being of Hoosiers. Drug overdose deaths between 1999 and 2014 increased by 500 percent in Indiana. In 2016, more than 80% of the record-number 345 drug overdose deaths in Marion County showed signs of an opioid. Misconceptions about drug users can hinder effective dissemination and implementation of scientific findings into opioid-related prevention and treatment. Dr. Bradley Ray, with colleague Dennis P. Watson, evaluates policy and programmatic responses to the opioid crisis in Indiana.
Dr. Ray’s interdisciplinary research examines the nuances of opioid-related policies and practices to identify and implement evidence-based responses rooted in a harm reduction approach, and his findings have shaped opioid-related policy and practice. With federal support, Dr. Ray and his team recently studied the implementation of Aaron’s Law and found that fear of arrest undercuts the law that shields anyone who administers naloxone, a lifesaving emergency antidote for opioid overdose, from criminal charges. The Indiana State Department of Health uses these results to inform future efforts around naloxone access and use. Other findings have helped guide medication-assisted treatment in Porter, Starke, and Scott counties.
Dr. Brad Ray’s work to disseminate and implement scientific findings into opioid-related policy and practice in Indiana is another example of how IUPUI faculty are TRANSLATING RESEARCH INTO PRACTICE.