SPEA professor’s heroin overdose research leads to life-saving policy changes

By Liz Joss

When Brad Ray was 22 years old, he was with a relative who appeared to be very ill. The man was hiccupping, gasping for air, yet completely unresponsive. “We picked him up, dropped him, and he had zero response,” Ray recalls. “So we looked in his pockets and found little pouches of powder. I called 911.”

Brad Ray
SPEA Assistant Professor Brad Ray

Emergency medical personnel arrived and recognized the powder as heroin and the illness as an overdose. “We had no idea he used heroin,” Ray says. An EMS worker injected the man with naloxone, and saved his life.

“He literally came back to life, and from that moment on, I realized there was an antidote for heroin overdose,” says Ray, an assistant professor in criminal justice at SPEA IUPUI. And that set the course for research that is changing Indiana policies statewide and contributing to a national conversation about treating opioid overdose. (more…)

SPEA alumnus Lee Christenson prepares Indiana for emergencies

If Ebola, or any number of natural and manmade disasters, comes to Indiana, the state is prepared, thanks to SPEA alumnus Lee Christenson. Christenson, director of the Public Health Preparedness and Emergency Response Division at the Indiana State Department of Health, collaborated with partners throughout the state and country to prepare Indiana for Ebola when the outbreak began in early 2014.

Lee Christenson
Lee Christenson

Working with hospitals and local health departments, emergency management, law enforcement, environmental management, first response and federal partners, Christenson knows the job is never done.

“Our team spends about 95 percent of our time preparing for emergencies and about five percent actually responding to them,” Christenson says. “When it comes to disease, whether it was H1N1 or Ebola, the question is not if it will show up here, but when.” (more…)

SPEA research shows ‘total cost of ownership’ information gives hybrid and plug-in vehicles a boost

Sales of hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles have slumped, but new Indiana University research shows some consumers are more likely to buy when they see data that shows the total cost of owning a hybrid or plug-in electric vehicle compared to a conventional car.

The researchers surveyed car shoppers online, asking them to react to a variety of EPA fuel economy labels for generic cars with no brand names attached. Those in the market for a mid-sized car weren’t influenced by the current EPA labels that show only that electric vehicles use less fuel. But when the labels added total cost-of-ownership information summarizing financing, depreciation, registration, maintenance and insurance costs, consumers saw hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles in a new light.

Electric car charging“Consumers have been slow to buy hybrids and plug-ins because they cost more initially than conventional cars,” said Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis professor Jerome Dumortier, one of the authors of the study. “Our research indicates car shoppers are less hesitant when they see the big picture, what it really costs to own a vehicle over 10 years.” (more…)