Survey: Drug Abuse a Critical Challenge For Local Leaders

Inside INdiana Business is reporting that n new survey conducted by the Indiana University Public Policy Institute shows local elected officials overall are optimistic about the future of their communities, but know there are serious challenges that need to be addressed. The 2017 Indiana Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations Survey, which is conducted every two years, was sent to more than 1,300 county, city, town, township and school officials throughout the state.

Jamie Palmer, director of the IACIR and senior policy analyst at the IU Public Policy Institute, says the main challenges identified by respondents were drug abuse and local roads and streets. The survey says 70 percent listed drug abuse as a major problem in their community with another 25 percent reporting it as a moderate problem.

“Drug and alcohol abuse has long come up as a big problem in my survey since 2001,” said Palmer. “It was probably a little stronger this time, likely because of all the opioid issues. Local roads and streets typically comes up as a challenge for communities. This time, there was kind of mixed results because, while communities can be struggling with the issue, there are some new resources the General Assembly has given them to work on them and so you can start seeing that they’re reporting that it’s improving.”

The survey says investing placemaking strategies has become a major focus for local leaders in order improve their communities’ social, cultural, and economic situation. A majority of respondents indicated they are pursuing five of 12 identified placemaking elements, such as recreational assets and programming, attractive downtowns, historic preservation and adaptive reuse, and local food opportunities.

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