Donnelly Meets with Indianapolis’ Justin Phillips Who is Receiving Champion of Change Award at White House Today

justin phillips

Senator Donnelly with Justin Phillips in Washington, D.C. today. 

Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly met with Justin Phillips in his Washington, D.C., office to discuss efforts to combat the opioid abuse and heroin epidemics that are devastating communities across Indiana and the United States. Phillips is receiving recognition tomorrow at the White House as a “Champion of Change” for her advocacy work. Donnelly nominated Justin Phillips in December last year in recognition of her continued work in the fight against Indiana’s prescription opioid abuse and heroin epidemics. To read Donnelly’s letter to President Obama nominating Phillips, click here.

Since losing her son, Aaron Sims, 20, to a heroin overdose in 2013, Phillips has become a leading voice for families facing addiction in Indiana. In 2014, she founded the non-profit Overdose Lifeline to help purchase naloxone, an opioid reversal drug, for first-responders in the Indianapolis area. She also worked with Indiana legislators on a bill known as Aaron’s Law to expand access to naloxone prescriptions for others beyond first responders. After months of advocacy, Aaron’s Law was enacted in April 2015.

 Through her work with Overdose Lifeline, Phillips has also focused on providing educational resources and support events for families and individuals impacted by opioid addiction. Overdose Lifeline has developed an educational program to inform high school students about the risks of prescription opioid abuse and heroin use, and has also hosted several free training and distribution events to provide naloxone to first responders and the general public in central Indiana.

 Donnelly has been working for more than two years to address the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemics in Indiana and across the country. Last month, Donnelly helped the Senate pass bipartisan legislation designed to help address opioid abuse. This legislation includes provisions adopted from and similar to bipartisan legislation that Donnelly reintroduced last year focused on developing best prescribing practices and raising public awareness, as well as a program to expand access to life-saving naloxone.

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