Purdue routs No. 2 Ohio State 49-20, shakes up CFP chase

By The Associated Press
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — D.J. Knox rushed for 128 yards and three touchdowns, David Blough threw for three more scores and Purdue shook up the College Football Playoff chase with a 49-20 blowout of No. 2 Ohio State on Saturday night.
The Boilermakers (4-3, 3-1 Big Ten) won their fourth straight, their second in a row over a ranked team and pulled off their biggest upset since taking down then-No. 2 Ohio State 28-23 on Oct. 6, 1984. Purdue set a school record for points scored against the Buckeyes, besting the mark of 41 in 1967.
Mistake-prone Ohio State (7-1, 4-1) had its 12-game winning streak snapped, fell out of the Big Ten East lead behind rival Michigan and must fight away its way back into playoff position.
Blough outplayed Heisman Trophy candidate Dwayne Haskins Jr. on a night the Buckeyes didn’t reach the end zone until early in the fourth quarter.
Blough went 25 of 43 with 378 yards and sealed the victory with a 43-yard pass to Rondale Moore with 3:37 to play. It was Blough’s third straight 300-yard game and his fourth this season.
Haskins wound up 49 of 73, shattering the school records in both categories, and had 470 yards and two touchdowns and an interception. But he missed receivers down the field on a windy night and was nearly picked off a couple of times before Markus Bailey scored on a late 41-yard interception return. The Buckeyes were called for 10 penalties and faced their largest halftime deficit of the season, 14-3, before giving up four scoring plays of more than 40 yards in the fourth quarter.
NO. 1 ALABAMA 58, TENNESSEE 21
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tua Tagovailoa threw touchdown passes to four receivers and Alabama started fast again to overpower Tennessee.
Alabama had touchdowns on its first four possessions while outscoring Tennessee 28-0 and outgaining the Volunteers 217-6 in the opening period. Alabama has outscored opponents 165-31, and Tennessee has been outscored 69-16 in first quarters this season.
Tagovailoa went 19 of 29 for 306 yards before leaving midway through the third quarter with Alabama ahead 51-14. He took a big hit on his final play of the day, a 51-yard touchdown pass to Henry Ruggs III.
Earlier, Tagovailoa connected on touchdown passes to Jerry Jeudy, Jaylen Waddle and Irv Smith Jr. The Heisman Trophy contender has thrown 25 touchdown passes without an interception this season.
Alabama (8-0, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) beat Tennessee (3-4, 1-3) for the 12th straight year and had the highest points total either team has ever recorded in the 101-game history of the series. Alabama is scoring 54.1 points per game.
Tennessee quarterback Keller Chryst went 9 of 15 for 164 yards with two touchdown passes after replacing injured starter Jarrett Guarantano in the second quarter.
NO. 3 CLEMSON 41, NO. 16 NORTH CAROLINA STATE 7
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Trevor Lawrence threw for a career-high 308 yards, Travis Etienne rushed for three touchdowns and Clemson turned an expected Atlantic Coast Conference showdown into a rout.
The Tigers (7-0, 4-0) opened with seven straight wins for the third time in four seasons in topping the Wolfpack (5-1, 2-1) for the seventh consecutive season.
It was the ACC’s first matchup of undefeated teams this deep in a season since 2013, a game that also took place in Death Valley. But unlike five years ago when the Tigers were pummeled by eventual national champ Florida State 51-14, Clemson who took control early and never gave the Wolfpack a chance to rally.
North Carolina State quarterback Ryan Finley came in leading the ACC at more than 324 yards passing a game. He managed just 156 yards passing with two interceptions and a fumble.
NO. 5 LSU 19, NO. 22 MISSISSIPPI STATE 3
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Michael Divinity Jr.’s interception set up Nick Brossette’s short touchdown run, Cole Tracy kicked four field goals, and LSU beat Mississippi State.
Still, the Tiger Stadium crowd left angry after LSU’s top linebacker, Devin White, was ejected for targeting in the fourth quarter, meaning he will not be eligible to play in the first half of the Tigers’ upcoming showdown with unbeaten and top-ranked Alabama.
White appeared to lower his head as he leveled quarterback Nick Fitzgerald a moment after he released a pass that was intercepted by defensive back Kristian Fulton. The targeting penalty wiped out the turnover, and LSU’s celebrations also drew two flags for unsportsmanlike conduct, resulting in 45 yards in penalties on one play. Safety John Battle’s interception prevented Mississippi State (4-3, 1-3) from scoring on the drive and virtually sealed the result
Safety Grant Delpit came through with several drive-stalling plays for the Tigers (7-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference), including two interceptions and a fourth-down sack.
NO. 6 MICHIGAN 21, NO. 24 MICHIGAN STATE 7
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Shea Patterson threw two touchdown passes and Michigan snapped a streak of 17 consecutive losses to ranked teams on the road.
The game was delayed for 1 hour, 15 minutes in the first quarter because of lightning in the area.
The Wolverines (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten) had lost eight of 10 against their in-state rivals and those setbacks have led to them not winning a Big Ten title since 2004.
The Spartans (4-3, 2-2) struggled to move the ball, getting held to 94 yards and failing to convert any of its 12 third downs.
Patterson’s 79-yard pass to Donovan Peoples-Jones put Michigan ahead late in the third quarter. He converted a fourth-and-2 from the Michigan State 41 early in the fourth, setting up Ben Mason’s 5-yard run that gave the Wolverines a 21-7 lead.
The Ole Miss transfer was 14 of 25 for 212 yards. Michigan’s Karan Higdon had 144 yards rushing on 33 carries against the nation’s top-ranked rushing defense.
NO. 9 OKLAHOMA 52, TCU 27
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Kyler Murray threw four touchdown passes, Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon had 100-yard rushing games with scores and Oklahoma rebounded from its only loss this season to beat TCU for the third time in 11 months.
The Sooners (6-1, 3-1 Big 12) won their 18th consecutive true road game, never trailing after scoring touchdowns on each of their first four drives in their first game since losing to Texas two weeks ago.
Brooks ran for 168 yards on 18 carries with an early 21-yard TD. Sermon ran 17 times for 110 yards and scored twice before walking gingerly off the field after being tended to by trainers with about 8 1/2 minutes left. This was a rematch of the Big 12 Conference championship game last December, when Oklahoma won three weeks after beating TCU (3-4, 1-3) in the regular season.
NO. 10 UCF 37, EAST CAROLINA 10
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Darriel Mack Jr. stepped in for Heisman Trophy hopeful McKenzie Milton and rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown, and UCF forced five turnovers en route to its 20th straight victory.
Nate Evans returned a fumble 94 yards for a momentum-changing touchdown with 10:07 left, Greg McCrae added a 74-yard TD run and the Knights (7-0, 4-0 American Athletic) turned all those takeaways into 24 points. UCF — which was outgained 496-427 — went up 20-3 by scoring on four consecutive possessions in the second quarter, then made it a full-fledged rout with those late big plays.
Receiver Quadry Jones threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to Adrian Killins on a trick play, and Matthew Wright kicked three field goals for the Knights.
With Milton sitting this one out while in full uniform from the sideline, Mack was 12 of 20 for 69 yards but was more dangerous with his legs, rushing 7 yards for an early touchdown.
The Pirates (2-5, 0-4) have lost three straight and four of five.
NO. 25 WASHINGTON STATE 34, NO. 12 OREGON 20
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Gardner Minshew threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Dezmon Patmon in the back of the end zone with 3:40 left and Washington State beat Oregon.
The Cougars (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) capped one of the biggest days in program history by taking control of the North Division race. Washington State hosted ESPN’s “College Gameday” and later celebrated its fourth straight victory over Oregon (6-1, 3-1).
Minshew was 39 of 51 for 323 yards and four touchdowns.
Down 27-0 at the half, Oregon pulled to 27-20 on Adam Stack’s 23-yard field goal with 6:38 left. The Cougars got a huge play on the next drive from Travell Harris when he stole a pass from Oregon’s Jevon Holland for a 37-yard gain into Oregon territory. Minshew then hit Harris for 11 yards to convert fourth-and-6 and, two plays later, Minshew hit Patmon for the touchdown that finally put away the Ducks.
NO. 14 KENTUCKY 14, VANDERBILT 7
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Benny Snell Jr. rushed for 169 yards, including the go-ahead 7-yard run with 8:04 remaining that helped Kentucky pull away.
The Wildcats (6-1, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) clinched bowl eligibility for a third consecutive season and stayed in contention in the East division with their third straight victory over the Commodores (3-5, 0-4). But it took linebacker Kash Daniel’s fourth-down forced fumble that Quinton Bohanna recovered at the 20 midway through the fourth quarter to jump-start Kentucky from game-long inconsistency.
Snell took control from there, rushing 10 times for 74 yards on the drive that ended with his ninth TD run. The junior rushed 32 times for his 16th career 100-yard game on a blustery night that Kentucky had to work hard to outgain Vanderbilt 298-284.
NO. 15 WASHINGTON 27, COLORADO 13
SEATTLE (AP) — Jake Browning threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Fuller on fourth down with less than four minutes remaining, and Washington held off Colorado.
Rather than trying for a long field goal, Browning and the offense stayed on the field. Facing a blitz, Browning found Fuller on a quick slant with nothing but the end zone ahead.
Salvon Ahmed and Kamari Pleasant both scored on touchdown runs in the first half for the Huskies (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12). They played without starting running back Myles Gaskin due to a shoulder injury. Washington linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven had 15 tackles and an interception.
Steven Montez threw for 144 yards for Colorado (5-2, 2-2).
NO. 18 PENN STATE 33, INDIANA 28
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Trace McSorley passed for 220 yards, ran for 107 and had a hand in three touchdowns in Penn State’s victory over Indiana.
Penn State (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) rallied to snap a two-game losing streak after Indiana (4-4, 1-4) took a 21-20 lead in the third quarter on Steve Scott’s 3-yard touchdown run.
Johnathan Thomas took the ensuing kickoff back to the Indiana 5, setting up McSorley for the go-ahead touchdown on the next play.
Brandon Wilson partially blocked the extra point, leaving Penn State’s lead at 26-21. Indiana forced Penn State to punt on the Nittany Lions’ next drive, but J-Shun Harris fumbled the punt return and turned the ball over. Five plays later, McSorley nearly walked into the end zone to make it 33-21 lead. Miles Sanders ran for 72 yards and a touchdown.
NO. 19 IOWA 23, MARYLAND 0
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Nate Stanley threw for 86 yards and a touchdown for Iowa.
Anthony Nelson added a TD on a fumble recovery for the Hawkeyes (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten). They held the Terrapins (4-3, 2-2) to 115 yards and seven first downs on a day when wind gusts topped 40 mph.
After settling for a pair of short field goals, Iowa went into halftime ahead 13-0 after Stanley found Brandon Smith for a 10-yard TD grab — which Smith made with one hand — with eight seconds left in the second quarter. Nelson, a defensive end, made it 23-0 late in the third quarter by falling on a botched handoff from backup quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome in the end zone.
Ivory Kelly-Martin ran for 98 yards for Iowa.
TEMPLE 24, NO. 20 CINCINNATI 17, OT
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Anthony Russo threw a tying 20-yard touchdown pass with 49 second left to Brandon Mack, and then a 25-yarder to Isaiah Wright in overtime for Temple.
Russo was 20 for 41 for 237 yards and three touchdowns for the Owls (5-3, 4-0 American). He led a seven-play, 75-yard drive in the closing minutes to tie it.
Cincinnati (6-1, 2-1) got a first down on its first play of overtime, but an errant snap behind quarterback Desmond Ridder left the Bearcats with second-and-21 and a personal foul pushed them even farther back. Ridder’s pass was intercepted by by Shaun Bradley on third-and-36 to end the game.
NO. 21 SOUTH FLORIDA 38, UCONN 30
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Johnny Ford rushed for 164 yards and three touchdowns to help South Florida shrug off a slow start and remain unbeaten.
Ford scored on runs of 15, 15 and 43 yards. He also set up a second-half field goal with a 78-yard burst, helping the Bulls (7-0, 3-0 American Athletic) pull away from a 7-7 halftime tie and match the best start in school history.
Blake Barnett threw for one TD and ran for another for USF. Jordan Cronkite, the nation’s third-leading rusher at 151.4 yards per game, finished with 103 yards on 16 attempts for his school record-tying fifth consecutive 100-yard game.
Kevin Mensah rushed for 120 yards and two TDs for UConn (1-6, 0-4), which also got 197 yards and two touchdowns on the ground from quarterback David Pindell.
USF, one of two remaining unbeaten teams in the AAC, has rallied from double-digit, fourth-quarter deficits to win three times this season.
NO. 23 WISCONSIN 49, ILLINOIS 20
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Jonathan Taylor rushed for 159 yards and Taiwan Deal ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns and Wisconsin took advantage of Illinois’ five first-half turnovers.
Wisconsin (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) has won nine straight against Illinois (3-4, 1-3). The Badgers had three interceptions and recovered two fumbles on the way to building a 28-10 halftime lead. Alex Hornibrook threw three touchdown passes and two interceptions.
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Tent collapse injures 12; speaker Lou Holtz unhurt

HAYDEN, Ala. (AP) — Authorities say 12 people have been hospitalized, including three who were seriously injured, after a tent collapsed at a bank’s shareholders’ event.
WBMA-TV says about 400 people were under the tent Thursday night when it came crashing down, some ducking under tables for cover. WBRC reported that former Notre Dame and South Carolina coach Lou Holtz was scheduled to speak at the Traditions Bank event, and wasn’t injured.
The West Blount County fire chief says the incident may have been caused by a storm moving through Alabama. Operations Commander Tim Kent says the situation is under control. No further details were immediately available.

Judge denies Indiana AG Hill’s motion in early voting case

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal judge has denied Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill’s motion challenging a consent decree to add early voting sites in Marion County .
Judge Sarah Evans Barker ruled Thursday that the consent decree was entered into by all of the parties in a lawsuit that resulted in the agreement, including the Marion County Election Board. Hill argued in a motion filed Tuesday that decisions on early voting should be left not to the courts, but to election boards.
The election board reached the consent decree with plaintiffs Common Cause Indiana and the Indianapolis NAACP.
The attorney general’s office says it plans to appeal Barker’s ruling to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Indiana’s top elections official, Secretary of State Connie Lawson, criticized Hill’s motion as “reckless .”

Man accused of eating parts of dead ex-girlfriend deemed fit

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A psychiatrist says an Indiana man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and eating parts of her body is mentally competent for trial, but his attorneys want to talk to him first.
The News and Tribune reports a psychiatrist at Logansport State Hospital said in a letter filed with Clark County Circuit Court that Joseph Oberhansley’s competency has been restored since he was committed there last October.
Prosecutors allege Oberhansley broke into the Jeffersonville home of 46-year-old Tammy Jo Blanton in September 2014, and that he raped her, fatally stabbed her and ate parts of her body.
During a hearing Thursday, Oberhansley’s attorneys requested a month to talk with him and form an opinion on his competency. Judge Vicki Carmichael scheduled a Sept. 21 trial to discuss the matter.

Murder charge filed after shooting while gun played with

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — A murder charge has been filed after authorities say an 18-year-old man died after being shot in the face by a friend who was playing with a gun in western Indiana.
Police had arrested 20-year-old Dylan Morgan of Terre Haute on charges including reckless homicide in connection with the early Sunday shooting death of Gage Eup at Morgan’s home. On Thursday, Morgan appeared in court on a murder charge.
Morgan’s court-appointed attorney Paul Jungers says in an email that “we express sympathy to the families of all that are involved” and plan to “draw out all the facts and circumstances” in his defense.
A probable cause affidavit says Morgan told Eup he’d shoot him if he didn’t change a song that was playing. Police were told Morgan got a gun, removed the magazine and pointed it at Eup’s face while playing with the gun.

Woman jailed after fatal fire seeks mental health treatment

GARY, Ind. (AP) — A woman jailed on neglect charges after her two young children died in a March apartment building fire in northwestern Indiana is seeking additional mental health treatment.
The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports 33-year-old Kristen Gober of Gary sent a letter expressing a desire to participate in the Lake County Mental Health Court. She’s charged with two counts of child neglect causing death. She says she’s already taking four medications for mental health issues.
The mental health court was created in 2017 to provide court-monitored treatment for defendants incarcerated because of behavior resulting from mental illness.
Khristopher Gober and his 2-year-old sister, Kailani Gober, died in the fire. Authorities say Kristen Gober left them unattended with a 6-year-old brother and the children started the fire while playing with a stove.

Midwest is seeing more Monarch butterflies

By Joseph Dits

of The South Bend Tribune

But that could change as they still need your nectar-rich flowers
Does it seem that more monarch butterflies have been landing on your flowers this summer? Numbers of the flashy orange insect, known for its 3,000-mile migration to Mexico in late summer, are having an “extremely strong year,” said Doug Taron, who for 30 years has coordinated a survey of monarchs in Illinois and northwest Indiana.
That’s just based on initial reports from surveyors. The full data from the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network, which reaches as far east as Porter County, hasn’t been collated, said Taron, chief curator of the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago.
Still, he said, “It’s a great year to get out and see monarchs.”
Several factors could be playing in their favor.
Good rainfall in and around Texas this spring helped to grow plenty of nectar-producing flowers, which gave the monarchs lots of food to launch and migrate here, Taron said. They typically start to arrive in our part of the Midwest in May and then lay eggs. When they arrived, it helped that ample rainfall here also boosted the growth of flowers.
A lack of parasites also allows eggs to grow under the leaf of the only plant on which monarchs will lay eggs — the milkweed. The egg will hatch and grow into a caterpillar, which will eat the leaves and then morph into a butterfly.
It may feel like good news at a time when many reports point to an overall decline in monarchs and other pollinating insects. But, Taron cautioned, the yearly results could change.
“Their population levels fluctuate a lot from year to year,” he said of butterflies of all kinds, adding that there isn’t a regular up-and-down cycle.
Jill McDonald, of Niles, has been trolling the backroads for milkweed for about 20 years. Sticking close to the road so that she doesn’t disturb private land, she scans milkweed leaves for monarch eggs, which are white and no bigger than a pinhead. If you looked at the egg with a magnifying glass, she said, you’d see it come to a little point.
“I’m very aware of where chemicals are sprayed,” she said, wanting to collect healthy insects. She’s seen more eggs and caterpillars “by far than last year.”
She now has 20 caterpillars and four that are in a cocoon, known as the chrysalis stage as they’re turning into butterflies.
Once they’ve become adults, she tags them with a tiny, specially made sticker placed on a wing, that’s used to track them through a citizen science project called Monarch Watch. None of her tags has been found and reported yet, she said, though she hasn’t checked the database for a year.
McDonald said she’s helping to give these eggs and caterpillars a better chance of surviving to adulthood. Her bigger focus, though, is on sharing her work through educational programs as a part-time naturalist for St. Joseph County Parks and South Bend’s Rum Village Nature Center, along with other youth programs.
The biggest lesson is habitat. Studies have shown that monarchs and other pollinating insects, like the bees that enable several local crops to grow, have declined over the decades thanks to loss of habitat. Their survival relies on flowers that produce their food — nectar — which includes native species like milkweed, coneflowers, blazing stars, asters, goldenrod, zinnias and black-eyed Susans, along with lavender, marigolds and clover.
Flowers like petunias don’t offer much nectar. Besides, it isn’t a native species, hailing from South America.
Butterflies, moths and bees need these patches of the right flowers in the landscape, or “steppingstones,” said Cassie Majetic, an associate professor of biology at Saint Mary’s College whose specialty is floral odor and pollination.
“If you get rid of these, now the insect has to move further to get food,” Majetic said.
Farmers have sometimes removed lines of trees where wildflowers can also grow. Homes may be landscaped but lack the right flowers or may have chemically treated lawns without clover. Cities may remove green space, though they can still give pollinators small plantings of what they need.
If monarchs need milkweed to lay their eggs, do we have enough of the plant?
“That’s one of the big open questions,” Taron said, adding that it is still an abundant plant and that it pops up in tough urban landscapes along railroad embankments and chainlink fences.
A study last year found that 1.3 billion milkweed plants have been lost across the country. Taron said the problem with that number is that it makes it sound like the plants have been decimated when, in reality, it has spread out across several states. Whether or not there’s a dearth, he said, “You’re not going to do any harm by planting milkweed.”
In Iowa, an effort called Milkweed Matters has handed out tens of thousands of dirtballs with milkweed seeds to bicyclists on RAGBRAI, the massive weeklong ride across the state that is just finished last week. More than 10,000 riders take part each year in a route that changes, mostly riding past corn and soybean crops. They’re asked to toss the seedballs into the roadside ditches to grow.
In South Bend, Judy Frazier and kids in the youth program she started, We the Kids, passed out 11 milkweed plants and about 20 bags of milkweed seeds to raise awareness in June at WNIT Kids Club Day in the Park at St. Patrick’s County Park. Frazier is looking for another event to again pass out seeds.
Diana Mendelsohn, who organizes an annual Earth and Arbor Day event, had planned to give out milkweed seeds and show off a live butterfly this past Saturday at the Roseland Town Park.
While there may be overall declines of monarchs, Taron said that some reports are “more alarmist than I am comfortable with.” He helped to publish a research paper three years ago that analyzed monarch data in Mexico and the Midwest.
Mexico saw a significant decline, but he said, “We were not able to see a significant population decline up here in the summer.”
About three generations of monarchs live through our summer with two-week life spans, busily spent mating and laying more eggs. The eggs being laid now will hatch in August and become the monarchs that will migrate south. They will live much longer. Taron said the decrease in daylight reaches a certain point, causing more juvenile hormones to be secreted, which enables them to live about eight months and triggers the migration to Mexico.
By early September, you can watch monarchs fluttering south along the Lake Michigan shore as they start the 3,000-mile trip, one by one. Next spring, the same generation of monarchs will migrate north to Texas, where they will mate and lay eggs for another generation — the ones who will arrive here in May.

A Steep Cost: Opioid usage, abuse costs Indiana $43.3B

By Danielle Grady

of the Jeffersonville & New Albany News and Tribune

Seventy-five positions.
Usually, the Belden Inc. plant in Richmond only hires 15 people a year. But in 2016, the cabling and wire manufacturer needed to find 75.
That might not have been a problem several years ago, when residents in the community seemed more interested in working in manufacturing. Or when opioids hadn’t taken over.
Over the past three years, the percentage of applicants to the Richmond plant who have failed their drug tests has tripled to nine or 10 percent, said Leah Tate, a vice president of human resources for Belden’s western U.S. operations.
That, combined with a tight labor market in Indiana and an aging workforce at Belden, has occasionally forced the company to pay its remaining workers more in overtime and to delay shipments to customers.
It’s made them worry about losing business.
A $43.3 BILLION PROBLEM
Opioid misuse doesn’t just cost businesses, although it does. A lot.
The effect of the epidemic on employers is just one of several included in Ryan Brewer’s study about how much opioid misuse has cost Indiana.
Over the past 15 years, the damage to the state has totaled $43.3 billion, according to the report, which was published in May by the Indiana Business Research Center at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business and was co-authored by Kayla Freeman, a doctoral candidate at Indiana University Bloomington.
In 2017, the cost was $4.3 billion, adding up to around $11 million per day. And Brewer, an associate professor of finance at Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, expects that number to grow in 2018.
Brewer’s study is the most comprehensive estimate the state has for the cost of the opioid crisis, he believes. Brewer specializes in these studies, called valuations, where he determines the economic impact of something. Usually the subjects are lighter — sports or intellectual property. Opioid misuse was a different beast.
“This has been a very sobering topic for me,” he said.
The costs Brewer found in his study seeped into various aspects of life, from the public to the private sector.
Drug arrests, court proceedings, incarceration expenses and property losses cost Indiana $136 million a year, according to the study. In the health care world, non-lethal opioid overdoses, hospital stays, HIV contraction and neonatal care for dependent infants cost the state $571 million in 2016, with another $40 million a year going to rehabilitation.
These costs mean worse services and less to go around for other parts of Indiana communities, according to Brewer. For example, an EMS helping an overdose victim could be late responding to another emergency. Similarly, money that could have been going to a road is also needed to upgrade an overburdened jail.
In 2016, more money was also spent on funerals ($7.1 million) and on foster care ($61.2 million) as a result of the opioid crisis.
When it comes to businesses like Belden, though, the price is higher, especially in Indiana where Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office says there are 85,000 unfilled jobs.
The number of workers dying from opioid overdoses and of misusers losing or being unable to find jobs resulted in a $2.6 billion gross state product loss in 2016, meaning businesses in the state made less than they could have.
Some businesses might think twice about moving to Indiana because of this, Brewer said. For the ones that are here, innovation and growth could be strangled.
SMALL SCALE SOLUTION
Brewer didn’t create his study just for it to be published, he said. He wanted it to prompt changes.
In Richmond, the Belden plant has created its own solution to address high costs.
If an employee or an applicant fails a drug test, the company will pay for that person to go through a treatment program.
Once done, they’re placed in a low-risk job that doesn’t involve operating machinery. After passing a series of random drug screenings, they’re moved into a regular position. There, they’re only tested a few more times before becoming a full-fledged employee.
Currently, there are 17 people in Belden’s program, which launched in February. Six are now operating machinery.
The program was originally supposed to cost Belden $5,000 per employee, but that estimate has since risen as the company has run into additional costs, such as providing transportation for participants to attend treatment.
The increase doesn’t phase company VP Tate.
“I would say two things: One, it’s hard to put a cost on healing the community,” she said.
And two, a long-term inability to fill jobs would result in lost customers — and revenue — for Belden.
STATEWIDE SPENDING
The website for state Sen. Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, describes him as a conservative guy who wants to keep Indiana’s fiscal system in check.
But after several years of looking into substance abuse and its effect on Indiana, he’s also the self-identified leader of the Indiana General Assembly’s push to address the opioid crisis. And he’s frank about what that’s going to cost.
“It’s not going to be cheap for Indiana to kill heroin,” he said.
Merritt is still an advocate for government efficiency, but money will have to be spent “here and there,” he said.
Not only does Brewer want to spur action with his opioid cost study, but he hopes that leaders can use it as a guide for what to spend on solutions at the local and state level. The study also includes a breakdown of costs per county.
Based on Brewer’s calculations, he thinks a $1 billion investment from the state would be appropriate. Indiana already spends that much on workforce development programs.
Merritt and the mayor of Columbus, Jim Lienhoop, both praise Brewer’s study, but they see it more as a way of showing their constituents the importance of addressing the opioid crisis.
“It’s more educational than giving somebody incentive to think about spending more money,” Merritt said. “I think it’s more stunning and probably a bit scary for people when they hear the number.”
That’s not to say money isn’t being spent.
It’s not even close to $1 billion, but the state set aside $10 million “in cash” last year to start addressing the epidemic, Merritt said. He thinks that next year, at least $10 to $15 million could be devoted to it.
A list from the governor’s office provided to CNHI Indiana Newspapers in January also shows that state agencies dedicated $100 million to fighting the epidemic in 2017.
The state is getting help from other sources, too. Two pieces of federal legislation, the 21st Century Cures act and the most recent omnibus spending bill, guaranteed Indiana $57 million.
Merritt said he would be open to the idea of the state spending $20 to $50 million of its own money next year, as well, if someone said that Indiana had to.
Opioid related bills that passed in the Legislature last session included funding nine more drug treatment centers in Indiana and three pilot programs that Merritt hopes will eventually be replicated across the state, including a sober living facility in Allen County and two programs for pregnant mothers to help keep their babies from being born dependent on drugs.
But not everything is happening on the state level.
In Bartholomew County, Lienhoop sees the economic effects of the opioid crisis in action: Columbus’ businesses struggle to find workers and residents face property damage.
Last year, he helped start an opioid response initiative called the Alliance for Substance Abuse Progress in Bartholomew County, or ASAP. So far, the group has launched over 40 programs, ranging from working with physicians on prescribing practices to expanding capacity for medication-assisted treatment, said Jeff Jones, ASAP’s leader.
The funding sources for the programs are just as varied: tax revenues, grants and even a $1 million fund set up by a local family.
Brewer’s study, Lienhoop said, will help him make a business-based case for solving the crisis to residents.
“Now, whether that directly will result in sort of justification for the funding remains to be seen,” he said.
ACTION
At the end of Brewer’s study, he’s included a set of recommendations for actions to be taken against the opioid crisis.
That’s not normal for Brewer’s work, but he thought it was important.
He came up with the recommendations by attending think tanks, as well as meetings with mayors and health facilities across the state. They include updating requirements for medical students regarding pharmaceuticals and expanding drug education in schools.
The first suggestion, though, is for community leaders to avoid stigmatizing their citizens who are affected by the crisis.
“So many people are affected by this around our state that that’s not just an inhumane thing to do, it’s an economically costly thing to do,” he said.

Indiana lawmakers consider expanding industrial hemp market

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana lawmakers are considering allowing farmers to grow industrial hemp.
Members of the Interim Study Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources heard from farmers Monday. Don Zolman, CEO of Zolman Farms in Kosciusko County, said that having an alternative crop for Indiana farmers is vital at a time when the farming industry is difficult.
“I would encourage you to push the envelope here a little,” Zolman told officials.
Only researchers at institutions are currently allowed to grow the plant. The committee toured Purdue University’s hemp program to learn about how the plant’s fibers, stalks and seed oil can be used in a variety of products.
The plant is a different type of cannabis that doesn’t produce a high, said Dr. Ron Turco, the department head of agronomy at Purdue. He said researchers believe there’s a lucrative market for hemp.
“We recognize industrial hemp will be part of agricultural growth,” said Jeff Cummins with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. “We have no opposition to a market-oriented program.”
But Cummins said the state will need time to create regulations for hemp. He said the state agency isn’t designed to handle such regulations and doesn’t have the budget or staff needed.
Lawmakers may look into creating a regulation system similar to what’s in place in Kentucky, said Republican state Sen. Randy Head of Logansport, who’s a member of the summer study committee.
“Anyone that wants to grow, they have to have a permit issued by their state government,” he said. “They have to have GPS coordinates for their growing operations so if the police want to come in and inspect, they know exactly where to go. Then, anything not being grown at those GPS coordinates is illegal.”

Woman rescued after trapped in wrecked car for 40 hours

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Bloomington Police say a woman was trapped in her wrecked car for nearly two days before rescuers reached her.
WTHR-TV reports 69-year-old Evelyn Thrasher was stuck when her car veered off a road Friday afternoon, went down an embankment and became wedged between two trees.
Police say Thrasher could not open the car doors and the vehicle went undetected even though it was just feet from the road.
She honked the horn but no one took notice until Terri Boas called police Sunday morning. Boas says she heard the honking for a while but she decided to take action when it seemed to take on more urgency, “like someone might be in distress.”
Rescuers reached Thrasher 40 hours after the crash. She wasn’t seriously hurt.