Governor Mike Pence has declared a public health emergency in one southern Indiana county.
An HIV epidemic has been linked to intravenous drug use in Scott County.
Deputy State Health Commissioner Jennifer Walthall says people are abusing a powerful painkiller that’s a cousin to Oxycontin and heroin.
"It's Oxymorphone, which the trade name for that is Opana," Walthall explained to WKU Public Radio. "It's an incredibly powerful and potent opiate that comes in pill form, but can be crushed, boiled, and then injected."
The Indiana State Department of Health has confirmed 71 cases of HIV. In comparison, Dr. Walthall says Scott County typically sees around five new HIV cases a year.
The state is preparing to set up a temporary needle exchange program that will allow addicts to swap out dirty needles for clean ones in an effort to stop the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C.