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Dopamine's yin-yang personality: It's an upper and a downer

Posted on December 16, 2018 at 12:04 PM Comments comments (0)
For decades, psychologists have viewed the neurotransmitter dopamine as a double-edged sword: released in the brain as a reward to train us to seek out pleasurable experiences, but also a "drug" the constant pursuit of which leads to addiction.                                
According to a new study from the University of California, Berkeley, that's only one face of dopamine. The flip side is that dopamine is also released in response to unpleasurable experiences, such as touching a hot tea kettle, presumably training the brain to avoid them in the future.
The yin-yang nature of dopamine could have implications for treatment of addiction and other mental disorders. In illnesses such as schizophrenia, for example, dopamine levels in different areas of the brain become abnormal, possibly because of an imbalance between the reward and avoidance circuits in the brain. Addiction, too, may result from an imbalance in reactions to pleasure and pain.
"In addiction, people only look for the next reward, and they will take a lot of risk to get the next shot of drugs of abuse," said Stephan Lammel, a UC Berkeley assistant professor of molecular and cell biology and the senior author of a paper describing the results in the journal Neuron. "We currently do not know the neurobiological underpinnings of certain high-risk behaviors of individuals with addiction, such as sharing drug paraphernalia despite the proven risk of mortality and morbidity associated with it. An understanding of how drugs change neural circuits involved in aversion may have important implications for the persistent nature of drug-seeking behavior in the face of negative consequences."
Although some neuroscientists have long speculated about dopamine's potential role in the signaling of aversive events, its dual personality remained hidden until recently because the neurons in the brain that release dopamine in response to rewards are embedded in a different subcircuit than the neurons that release dopamine in response to aversive stimuli.
Johannes de Jong, the first author of the study, was able to simultaneously record from both dopamine subcircuits by implanting fiber optic cannulas in two brain regions—separated by just a few millimeters—using a new technology called fiber photometry.
"Our work delineates for the first time the precise brain circuitry in which learning about rewarding and aversive outcomes occurs," Lammel said. "Having separate neuronal correlates for appetitive and aversive behavior in our brain may explain why we are striving for ever-greater rewards while simultaneously minimizing threats and dangers. Such balanced behavior of approach-and-avoidance learning is surely helpful for surviving competition in a constantly changing environment."
The newly discovered role for dopamine aligns with an increasing recognition that the neurotransmitter has quite different roles in different areas of the brain, exemplified by its function in voluntary movement, which is affected in Parkinson's disease. The results also explain earlier conflicting experiments, some of which showed that dopamine increases in response to aversive stimuli, while others d
"We have moved away from considering dopamine neurons as just a homogeneous cell population in the brain that mediates reward and pleasure to a more defined, nuanced picture of the role of dopamine, depending on where it is released in the brain," Lammel said.
Reward prediction errors
Most of what is known about dopamine has been inferred from studies in rodents and monkeys, where researchers recorded from cells in a specific region of the brain that only contains reward-responsive dopamine neurons. It is possible, Lammel said, that through sampling biases, dopamine neurons that respond to aversive stimulation had been missed.
According to the reigning "reward prediction error hypothesis," dopamine neurons are activated and produce dopamine when an action is more rewarding than we expect, but they remain at baseline activity when the reward matches our expectations and show depressed activity when we receive less reward than predicted.
Dopamine changes neural circuits and trains the brain—for better or worse—to pursue the pleasurable and avoid the unpleasurable.
"Based on the reward prediction error hypothesis, the established tendency has been to emphasize dopamine involvement in reward, pleasure, addiction and reward-related learning, with less consideration of the involvement of dopamine in aversive processes," Lammel said.
To dissect the different dopamine subcircuits, de Jong and Lammel collaborated with the laboratory of Karl Deisseroth at Stanford University, who developed the fiber photometry technology a few years ago.
Fiber photometry involves threading thin, flexible fiber optic wires into the brain and recording fluorescent signals given off by neurons and their axons that release dopamine. The fluorescent markers are inserted into the neurons via a virus that targets only these cells.
In previous experiments in monkeys, Lammel said, scientists had recorded from dopamine cells without knowing where in the brain the cells' axons reached, which could be areas millimeters from the cell body. Working with mice, de Jong recorded simultaneously from dopamine axons in the lateral and medial regions of an area called the nucleus accumbens, considered an integral part of the brain's reward circuits. He thus captured the activity of cells whose axons reach into these regions from the dopamine areas in the midbrain, specifically the ventral tegmental area.
To their surprise, axons in the medial area released dopamine in response to an aversive stimulus—a mild electrical shock to the foot—while those in the lateral area released dopamine only after positive stimuli.
"We have two different subtypes of dopamine cells: one population mediates attraction and one mediates aversion, and they are anatomically separated," Lammel said.
He hopes that these findings can be confirmed in monkeys and humans, and lead to new approaches to understanding and treating addiction and other brain maladies.

Pulling Ourselves Out Of Issolation and Loneliness

Posted on November 18, 2018 at 7:02 PM Comments comments (0)
Alone no more.
"We gradually and carefully pull ourselves out of the isolation and loneliness of addiction and into the mainstream of life."
Basic Text, p. 37
Many of us spent much of our using time alone, avoiding other people-especially people who were not using-at all costs. After years of isolation, trying to find a place for ourselves in a bustling, sometimes boisterous fellowship is not always easy. We may still feel isolated, focusing on our differences rather than our similarities. The overwhelming feelings that often arise in early recovery-feelings of fear, anger, and mistrust-can also keep us isolated. We may feel like aliens but we must remember, the alienation is ours, not NA's.
In Narcotics Anonymous, we are offered a very special opportunity for friendship. We are brought together with people who understand us like no one else can. We are encouraged to share with these people our feelings, our problems, our triumphs, and our failures. Slowly, the recognition and identification we find in NA bridge the lonely gap of alienation in our hearts. As we've heard it said-the program works, if we let it.
Just for Today: The friendship of other members of the fellowship is a life-sustaining gift. I will reach out for the friendship that's offered in NA, and accept it.
Corresponding page Sixth Edition
Basic Text, p., 37
This is our road to spiritual growth. We change every day. We gradually and carefully pull ourselves out of the isolation and loneliness of addiction and into the mainstream of life. This growth is not the result of wishing, but of action and prayer. The main objective of Step Seven is to get out of ourselves and strive to achieve the will of our Higher Power.
If we are careless and fail to grasp the spiritual meaning of this step, we may have difficulties and stir up old troubles. One danger is in being too hard on ourselves.

Opioid Epidemic

Posted on August 28, 2018 at 2:06 PM Comments comments (0)
It is sad to see so many young people passing away due to the opioid crisis. It shows how hard it is to give opioids up for good. Many addicts are clean for awhile, then go back out. Please, if you have relapsed, don't be ashamed. Get help! Go to 12 step meetings, go to detox, reconnect with those who helped you get sober to begin with. Your families and friends need you. You need to be around to help others. Don't give up and give in. You can do it!

Don't Look Back

Posted on September 9, 2017 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (1)
"The steps offer a big change from a life dominated by guilt and remorse. Our futures are changed because we don't have to avoid those who we have harmed. As a result... we receive a new freedom that can end isolation."
Basic Text, p. 39
Many of us come to Narcotics Anonymous full of regrets about our past. Our steps help us begin to resolve those regrets. We examine our lives, admit our wrongs, make amends for them, and sincerely try to change our behavior. In doing so, we find a joyous sense of freedom.
No longer must we deny or regret our past. Once we've made our amends, what's done is truly over and gone. From that point on, where we come from ceases to be the most important thing about us. It's where we are going that counts.
No longer must we deny or regret our past. Once we've made our amends, what's done is truly over and gone. From that point on, where we come from ceases to be the most important thing about us. It's where we are going that counts.
n NA, we begin to look forward. True, we live and stay clean just for today. But we find that we can begin to set goals, dream dreams, and look ahead to the joys a life in recovery has to offer. Looking forward keeps us centered in where we are going, not remorseful or regretful about our past. After all, it is hard to move forward if we are looking back.
Just for Today: The steps have freed me from regrets over my past. Today, I look forward to my new life in recovery.
Shared via JFT App , Copyright © 2007-2017, NA World Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Suffering and Addiction

Posted on September 4, 2017 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (0)
We all have tragedies, pain, and suffering in our lives. We can use these as an excuse to use alcohol or drugs. Eventually this can lead to more tragedies, pain and suffering. There are millions of reasons to use. But using drugs and alcohol compromises who you are and who you can be. If you focus on the hurt, you will continue to suffer. If you focus on the lesson, you will continue to grow.

Facing Death

Posted on August 22, 2017 at 7:02 PM Comments comments (0)
"Often we have to face some type of crisis during our recovery, such as the death of a loved one..."
Basic Text, p. 98
Every life has a beginning and an end. However, when someone we love a great deal reaches the end of their life, we may have a very hard time accepting their sudden, final absence. Our grief may be so powerful that we fear it will completely overwhelm us - but it will not. Our sorrow may hurt more than anything we can remember, but it will pass.
We need not run from the emotions that may arise from the death of a loved one. Death and grieving are parts of the fullness of living "life on life's terms." By allowing ourselves the freedom to experience these feelings, we partake more deeply of both our recovery and our human nature.
Sometimes the reality of another's death makes our own mortality that much more pronounced. We reevaluate our priorities, appreciating the loved ones still with us all the more. Our life, and our life with them, will not go on forever. We want to make the most of what's most important while it lasts.
We might find that the death of someone we love helps strengthen our conscious contact with our Higher Power. If we remember that we can always turn to that source of strength when we are troubled, we will be able to stay focused on it no matter what may be going on around us.
Just for Today: I will accept the loss of one I love and turn to my Higher Power for the strength to accept my feelings. I will make the most of my love for those in my life today.
Shared via JFT App , Copyright © 2007-2017, NA World Services, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Power of Love

Posted on August 10, 2017 at 11:48 AM Comments comments (14)
"We begin to see that God's love has been present all the time, just waiting for us to accept it."
Basic Text, p. 46

God's love is the transforming power that drives our recovery. With that love, we find freedom from the hopeless, desperate cycle of using, self-hatred, and more using. With that love, we gain a sense of reason and purpose in our once purposeless lives. With that love, we are given the inner direction and strength we need to begin a new way of life: the NA way. With that love, we begin to see things differently, as if with new eyes.

As we examine our lives through the eyes of love, we make what may be a startling discovery: The loving God we've so recently come to understand has always been with us and has always loved us. We recall the times when we asked for the aid of a Higher Power and were given it. We even recall times when we didn't ask for such help, yet were given it anyway. We realize that a loving Higher Power has cared for us all along, preserving our lives till the day when we could accept that love for ourselves.

The Power of love has been with us all along. Today, we are grateful to have survived long enough to become consciously aware of that love's presence in our world and our lives. Its vitality floods our very being, guiding our recovery and showing us how to live.

Just for Today: I accept the love of a Higher Power in my life. I am conscious of that Power's guidance and strength within me. Today, I claim it for my own.

Police: 1 week, 27 overdoses in downtown Bloomington

Posted on July 1, 2017 at 12:04 PM Comments comments (1)
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Another day, another overdose.  It’s a troubling trend that’s taking over downtown Bloomington. In just the past week, first responders have been called out to more than two dozen drug overdoses.
“It’s supposed to be a fun, quirky town, but then when you have people that you’re scared to be around, it kind of makes you uncomfortable,” said Codi Hurd, a freshman at IU.
Bloomington police records show 23 of the week’s overdoses were from Spice, another four were from heroin.
“Obviously we’ve got a huge public safety issue, concerns, we’ve got huge public health concerns,” said Capt. Steve Kellams with the Bloomington Police Department.
The majority of the overdoses are happening on the sidewalks, streets and parks in the downtown area.
“We have a lot of people coming in from out of town to visit IU and they’re kind of horrified just looking around,” said Katie Stoker, a server at Café Pizzaria. The restaurant is located in the main stretch through Bloomington.
First responders receive calls from people reporting overdoses reporting patients with lack of consciousness, vomiting, and even minor convulsions.
“(It’s) not good. I honestly don’t even know how to respond to it because it’s so awful,” said Stoker.
Stoker says the staff has gotten used to the sounds of sirens.
“I mean, we’ve definitely noticed a drop in our customers that come in but also we’ve been talking to other local establishments and they’re all reporting the same thing,” said Stoker.
Police tell FOX59 the worst of the past week was 10 overdoses in one day.  Investigators are still trying to get to the source.
“The people that we’re seeing, we’ve actually seen repeat overdoses, where people have done this a second time and even a third time, I believe in one incident. So we believe they probably are connected,” said Kellams.
Police have arrested two men accused of dealing Spice. Investigators are still trying to figure out if these two men had any involvement with the recent overdose surge.
“I have full faith in our investigators are going to get to the bottom of this. It’s just going to take time,” said Kellams.
In the past two weeks, police have increased patrols in the downtown area.  All the Spice seized is currently being tested.

A brutal ending to young Avon mom's descent into heroin addiction

Posted on June 9, 2017 at 4:31 PM Comments comments (1)
The former cheerleader loved her daughter, her family and her friends, but 'the addiction was greater.'

Jordan King's parents knew heroin addiction might kill her, but they never thought her life would end in such a brutal way.
Jordan died a week after she was found lying unconscious in a pool of blood on an Indianapolis street on a cold January night. Marks left along gravel and salt indicate the 25-year-old woman had been dragged from a car for 75 feet.
The fall couldn't have been farther for Jordan. She had been an Avon High School cheerleader and was the granddaughter of a prominent Carmel councilman. But on that January night, she was buying heroin, the police report said.
The family is trying to understand. How could a girl who grew up with every advantage develop a deep addiction to heroin? What more could they have done to help? Will the man they say is responsible be held accountable?
Jordan's family isn't alone in struggling with life-and-death questions. Deaths from opioid overdoses have nearly doubled in Indiana in the past five years and roughly 4 percent of adults have misused opioids, state data shows.
Lawmakers have noticed. They are considering bills that would help provide access to counseling, tighter prescription controls, addiction treatment and programs for addicted women who are pregnant or have newborns.
Those efforts might help another family, but it's too late for Jordan's. The night of Jan. 7, she suffered a skull fracture and brain damage. She never woke up. A week later, Gar and Lisa King decided to remove their daughter from life support. Jordan King died at 5:24 a.m. Jan. 15, three days before her 26th birthday. Gar King still wears the wristwatch that he stopped the moment his daughter died.
"The easiest thing to say is she was hanging out with the wrong people," he said, at a loss to explain how his daughter's life ended this way. "I don't know. I can't answer that question. We supplied her with everything she needed, gave her the right opportunities. I wish someone would tell me."

                                                       A Happy Childhood

Jordan King was raised with every opportunity to succeed.
In 1999, the Kings moved from Indianapolis to a modest home in a neighborhood in Avon for the schools and other opportunities for their children.
"We always did everything we could for the girls. We provided for them. We tried not to have them want for anything," Lisa King said.
Gar started a drywall business. Lisa is a physical therapy manager at a senior center.
The middle child of three girls, Jordan had a happy childhood and made friends easily. As a young girl, she was active in gymnastics, basketball, volleyball, cheerleading, softball and soccer.
"'She always wanted to try every sport, it didn't matter what sport it was," Gar King said. "She always wanted to be doing something."
Kayla Neu said Jordan was one of the popular kids in middle school, and that Jordan befriended her when Neu's family moved there.
"I was bullied a lot, and she always stuck up for me. She made me feel good about myself," Neu said.
The two often hung out after school, at the mall or at the park.
She said Jordan always spoke highly of her parents.
"She was always happy," Neu recalled.

                                                     A turn in high school

Jordan was a decent student in high school, her parents said, and was active in club and varsity cheerleading. But she started hanging out with a crowd that drank and smoked marijuana occasionally, which her parents at first chalked up to normal teenager behavior.
Neu and Jordan remained friends for a while. But when Jordan started partying with kids on the weekends, they lost touch.
"They were the kids that were making bad decisions," Neu said.
Specialists who work in addiction treatment say using marijuana, alcohol and even cigarettes can lead to patterns of addictive behavior. But more concretely, buying and using marijuana can introduce kids to dealers who might have more dangerous substances to peddle and a crowd that's more willing to take risks with drugs.
"It really never starts with heroin addiction," said Robin Parsons, chief clinical officer at Fairbanks treatment center.
While Jordan began partying more, sports remained a positive in her life. She was a skilled cheerleader, more confident, fearless, strong-willed and athletic than most on the squad, said her coach, Cindy Whyde.
"She was a very talented gymnast," Whyde said.
Jordan, though, began struggling in school, and her parents were growing worried about the company she was keeping. Hoping to separate her from friends they now considered a bad influence, her parents sent her to the Harris Academy, an educational support facility, her senior year.

                                                     Life began to change

Jordan graduated in May 2009, but more serious trouble was to follow.
With her parents' encouragement, she decided to take a year off before considering college. She worked odd jobs, waiting tables, working at a paint shop. Nothing too serious, or for too long.
Her old friends went off to college or started families. She began hanging out with a new group of friends, people her parents didn't know.
She also had her first serious brush with the law. In July 2009, Jordan and a friend were arrested after Avon police caught them in a parked car with a bag of marijuana. Three months later, she pleaded guilty to possession, a misdemeanor, and served a year of probation.
Her parents began asking questions. Who was she hanging out with? What was she thinking? But, for Jordan, it didn't serve as a wake-up call.
Her parents say she began using more serious drugs. It started with prescription painkillers. They think her friends were using pills, and so she began using them, too.
"It started with Vicodin," Lisa King said. "Friends would have it. Or her boyfriend. As her tolerance built up, she had to go to something different."
Dr. Krista Brucker, an emergency medical physician at Eskenazi Health who founded a program to help addicts called Project Point, said pill addiction introduced heroin to a new market: middle-income white people.
Brucker wishes more people had paid attention to heroin addiction earlier.
"There is a race element to what is happening right now," she said. "Problems with heroin have plagued our poor, inner-city African-American communities for decades and to be honest, no one cared very much. Right now it's affecting other populations, mostly white and mostly affluent, so there is more attention focused on it."
Prescription painkillers have been overprescribed by doctors and have flooded the streets, said Brucker. She said the fact doctors prescribe pills gives users a false sense that they're safe.
But in reality, they can lead to dependency and addiction. "You have to use more and more to get the desired effect," said Parsons.
Pills are expensive on the street, though. Once addicts are hooked, Parsons said they turn to a cheaper, but powerful and highly addictive alternative: heroin.
"The average person can't afford a pill addiction for very long," she said. "In comes heroin."

                                                                       Seeking answers
Jordan began using heroin and became an addict. Her life grew more chaotic as she fed her addiction.
Her parents caught her stealing from them, they think, to pay for drugs. She also stole from others.
In 2012, Jordan was convicted of petty theft and was placed on probation again.
The Kings say they tried everything to make their daughter quit. Reasoning. Listening. Pleading. Yelling. Nothing worked.
"We were on her constantly," Gar King said.
She went to rehab seven times. It wasn't cheap. The Kings estimate they paid more than $15,000.
She went to Valle Vista Health System in Greenwood. Sycamore Springs in Lafayette.  Most of the time, she was out in a week. Enough time to detox. Not enough time to make life changes. When she was discharged, she'd go back to her friends. Back to drugs.
Addicts can detox in about a week, Parsons said. But they have to choose to stay in rehab. When they leave, most go back to their friends and start using again. When addiction sets in, she said, it takes significant counseling, life coaching and commitment from the addict and those around her to break clear. Opioids, she said, change the way the brain functions.
"If someone stays clean for a year, they have a 30 percent chance of making it," Parsons said. "If they stay clean for five years, they have a 60 percent chance of making it."
In 2014, Jordan decided she wanted to get serious help. With her parents' support, she flew to Boca Raton, Fla., and checked into a rehab center called The Watershed.
Her parents were thrilled. She spent nearly half a year in Florida. She lived at the center and took counseling and coaching. The center helped her find a job at an automotive repair shop and later found her a place to live in a group home for recovering addicts.
Things were going as well as they had in years.
"She was doing what she was supposed to be doing," Lisa King said.
But eventually Jordan begged to come home. They bought her a plane ticket in spring 2015, despite misgivings.
When she got home, they found out she was pregnant. The father was not a part of her life. But she seemed OK.
Davyna was born Sept. 1, 2015. Her parents thought the baby girl might be a blessing, a reason to stay clean. Jordan and Davyna stayed with her parents. Things seemed to go well.
"I thought everything was getting turned around," Gar King said.
But it wasn't long before Jordan began hanging out with old friends, people her parents had hoped were out of her life.
"We just couldn't figure out why she would always gravitate back to these people," Gar King said.
Bri Roell was one of those people, a friend with whom she did drugs. Roell said addiction gets a grip and won't let go.
"Everyone she hung out with did drugs," Roell said. "You have to change who you hang out with, the people you are around, and she always stuck by the same people. She was a loyal person and she didn't change her friends."
Roell understands the irony of her statement, knows that she is one of the people Jordan should have let go. Roell is facing the same struggle. She said friends drag each other down.
"That's what drug addicts do," she said.
In 2016, Jordan failed a drug test.
The Department of Child Services intervened. Jordan could no longer live with Davyna.
The Kings made the toughest choice of their lives, though really there was no choice at all.
They kept Davyna and Jordan moved out in March 2016. They sent her to the Florida treatment center again, but Jordan left after about a week.
"She loved her daughter, we all know that," Gar King said. "The addiction was greater."
A fatal car ride
Whatever fleeting grip Jordan had on her life vanished when she moved out. Her last months were tough, crashing with friends, staying in cheap hotels and getting into trouble.
In September 2016, Jordan overdosed and was taken to Eskenazi Hospital. She shoved a paramedic after being revived and was charged with battery on a public safety official.
She had a job at McDonald's. But a month after the overdose, she took a co-worker's car and license without asking and drove to a store where she was caught shoplifting. When police caught her, she lied about her name and concocted a plan to escape, according to court filings.
She was charged with auto theft, identity deception, making false statements to police and resisting law enforcement.

Parsons said addicts often steal to get money to feed their habit, including shoplifting or taking cash or objects from family. They get to a point where their entire lives revolve around taking drugs, not because it feels good, but because without it they become violently ill.
"It's not that they're criminals or bad eggs," Parsons said. "They are desperate, and they have to have this drug or they feel like they are going to die."
Drugs make good people do bad things, Roell said.
"Every drug addict had a life before they became someone like they are," she said.
The night Jordan died, she was staying at the Royal Inn, a place on the west side where police calls are common.
Roell was with Jordan. They wanted to buy heroin and called Austin Blevins, an acquaintance Jordan had met in rehab two years earlier.
He picked King up, but not her friends, and they drove off together, the police report said.
During that car ride, something went wrong.
Police are investigating whether Jordan was pushed from the car and whether Blevins was alone or had an accomplice. They say she was buying drugs from Blevins and, after the transaction, she was dragged, hanging from the passenger side door of the car, 75 feet down Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street, according to the police report.
A bystander found her laying in the road and called 911. The witness told police he had heard something dragging from a car and went to investigate. The witness saw the car do a U-turn, drive past Jordan and leave the scene.
Police say Blevins was driving that car.
Four hours after King was left in the roadway, police found Blevins' car, a 2002 Nissan, abandoned with hazard lights flashing at the intersection of West 16th and North Illinois streets. The car had blood, as well as minor damage, on the passenger side. They found Jordan's cell phone and purse inside. They also found Blevins' wallet, license and an open 24-ounce can of Budweiser.
Blevins, 22, remains in Marion County Jail in lieu of $30,000 bond. After he was arrested, a warrant was issued for him for probation violation of a drug charge in Hendricks County.
His attorney, Jennifer Lukemeyer of Voyles, Zahn & Paul, declined to comment.
Roell thinks Blevins pushed Jordan out of the car, but she can't imagine why. Had Jordan overdosed, Roell said, Blevins would have known he could call paramedics without fear of prosecution under state law. She said Blevins and all of their friends had seen enough overdoses not to panic. Roell said they often carried Narcan, a medicine that counteracts drug overdoses.
"I know it's bad, but smart addicts carry Narcan," she said. "You know someone is going to be there to save you."
Seeking justice
Jordan’s parents were sitting down on that Sunday morning, with nothing more on their minds than watching football when a hospital chaplain contacted them and told them what had happened.
They called Jordan's grandparents, Carmel Councilman Ron Carter and his wife, Barb, and the family rushed to her bedside.
"We thought we might get a call that she had overdosed," Carter said. "Barb and I had always talked about that. This was something that was extremely unexpected."
The Kings watched their daughter die. Now they say they want justice.
Blevins was charged with reckless homicide, leaving the scene of an accident causing serious bodily injury and dealing in a narcotic drug. He faces up to 12 years.
The Kings say that's not enough. They want Blevins charged with felony murder. Due to Jordan's injuries, they think she was pushed from the car and was unconscious before she hit the ground. And they want to know if Blevins had an accomplice. The police report indicates someone may have been with Blevins when Jordan first got in the car.
Deputy Prosecutor Ryan Mears said police continue to investigate. Charges could be added if warranted, he said.

Blevins has a criminal record, but nothing violent. In March 2015, he was sentenced to a year probation after stealing from a patient at a skilled-nursing center where he was working in housekeeping. In April 2016, police pulled him over while he was driving under the influence of heroin. He was sentenced to another year of probation and ordered to live in a sober home. In July 2016, he was charged with possession of a syringe and received more probation time.
Coincidentally, Whyde, Jordan's cheerleading coach, is friends with Blevins' parents. She said he was a good kid who played football and baseball in Plainfield. She sees him as a victim of heroin, too.
"I was completely floored when I found out it was him," she said. "You don't ever imagine something like this happening to two kids that you know."
Specialists say heroin changes people. They say it's time for more significant steps to treating addiction.
Brucker, the Eskenazi physician, said there's no easy answer. In 2016 alone, Eskenazi treated 722 overdoses with naloxone, the active ingredient in Narcan.
Curtailing heroin addiction, she said, will take a willingness to make pills less available, money to open treatment centers, funding to make treatment affordable, a simplification of the process to apply for state and federal funds in the Healthy Indiana Plan, plus criminal justice and child protection reform.
But more than anything, she said it will take a willingness to treat addiction as a medical issue instead of a moral failing.
"I can't paint a picture bleak enough of the heroin epidemic," she said.

The Kings know it's too late for their family, for Jordan. But they hope Indiana takes steps to help other families. And they hope Jordan's story will serve as a warning.
"Nothing is going to bring her back," Lisa King said. "I hope that somehow other people look at this and say maybe 'you know what, none of this is worth it.' Maybe this will change their lives."
Call IndyStar reporter Chris Sikich at (317) 444-6036. Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisSikich and at facebook/chris.sikich.

Fentanyl Crisis: Ohio Cop Accidentally Overdoses During Drug Call

Posted on June 5, 2017 at 2:49 PM Comments comments (2)
An Ohio police officer was "still miserable" but recovering Monday after he accidentally overdosed on a dangerous drug that has cut a deadly swath through his state — fentanyl.
Patrolman Chris Green of the East Liverpool Police Department had just finished searching the car of two suspected drug dealers and was back at the police station when another officer spotted some white powder on his shirt.
Without thinking, he brushed it off with his bare hand — and passed out about an hour later, Chief John Lane said. It took four doses of Narcan to revive him.
"This happened on Friday, but he's still got a headache, his chest hurts, he's lying on the couch," Lane told NBC News. "He's still miserable."
Green, who has been on the job for about five years, had worn the required gloves and mask to do the search, Lane said.
But the drug can get into the body just through contact with the skin "and he did this without thinking," Lane said. "I'm not sure he even realized this was drugs."
Green came into contact with the fentanyl — a powerful synthetic opioid five times as strong as heroin — after police observed the driver of a blue Chevrolet Monte Carlo engaging in behavior "consistent with a drug transaction," an East Liverpool Police report states.
Blocked in by police cruisers, Justin Buckle, 25, and Cortez Collins, 24, tried to get rid of the evidence by "wildly" mashing it into the carpet.
Buckle was spotted "using his foot to rub an unknown substance in the carpeting on the floor of the vehicle," according to the report. "The passenger side floor also contained an amount of white powder."
Initially, Green and the other officers suspected the substance was crack cocaine. "After further pressing, it was advised that the powder was fentanyl," the report states.
Buckle, of East Liverpool, and Collins, of Cleveland, are both charged with tampering with evidence. Bond was set at $100,000 apiece and they were being held in the local lockup.
Ohio has been among the states hardest hit by a deadly heroin and opioid epidemic and East Liverpool in particular has struggled to contain the plague.
Last year, in a desperate bid to ram home the message about "the poison known as heroin," East Liverpool police posted a photo of a couple overdosed in the front seats of an SUV while a 4-year-old child sat helplessly in the back seat.
Drugs dealers typically lace heroin with fentanyl — the drug that killed Prince — to boost profits and to give the drugs more punch, often with fatal results.