The punch line of the press conference conducted by Attorney General Greg Zoeller this week was the absence of Jimmy "The Pill Popper" Irsay when he announced that his office is partnering with the Indianapolis Colts to combat prescription drug abuse.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force have teamed up with the Indianapolis Colts to heighten awareness of Indiana’s prescription drug abuse epidemic.
According to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), more than 1,000 Hoosiers died from drug overdoses in 2012, compared to fewer than 500 in 2003. The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that Indiana is currently listed as one of the top 10 states for prescribing narcotics and Indiana is 17th in the United States in the drug overdose mortality rate. More people in the U.S. abuse prescription drugs than cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants combined, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
“Statistics show that the misuse and abuse of prescription drugs is not limited to a specific age group, gender, or economic class,” Zoeller said. “Teaming up with the Colts and their professional athletes will allow us to focus public attention on this epidemic and the need to help those held in the grasp of pain and addiction. My hope is that, with the support of the Colts we can save many lives from this growing problem.”
The sponsorship of the 2014-2015 Colts season provides a unique opportunity to reach a diverse audience across the state and a chance for youth to hear the message from athletes and a sports team they look up to.
"We're pleased to announce our partnership with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. Working together, we hope to make a positive impact in Indiana by focusing attention on the grave issues surrounding prescription drug abuse," said Pete Ward, Chief Operating Officer of the Indianapolis Colts.
The Indiana Prescription Drug Task Force will have a presence during Colts home games, at Colts special events, and during Colts radio and TV programming.
The Task Force - made up of more than 80 members including state legislators, law enforcement, professionals in the medical community, health officials, pharmacists, state and local agencies and education providers - was launched by Zoeller in 2012. The goal of the task force is to significantly reduce the abuse of controlled prescription drugs and to decrease the number of deaths associated with these drugs in Indiana.I take it from this announcement that Zoeller's office won't be a part of any multi-agency investigation to determine how Irsay has been able to gain access to prescription pain killers to fuel his long-running addiction.
UPDATE: Hat tip to the commenter who recalled President Richard Nixon enlisting the assistance of Elvis Presley in his war on drugs. Presley, of course, was abusing prescription drugs at the time, which would later lead to his tragic death.