opioid epidemic

Addiction Policy Forum / Facebook

As the opioid epidemic continues and addiction experts push for more medication-assisted treatment, a controversial national nonprofit funded by drug companies is setting up shop in Kentucky.

Kentucky's Attorney General announced on Thursday that the state is suing the pharmacy chain Walgreens for allegedly exacerbating the "man-made" opioid crisis, by playing a dual role in in the supply chain as both the distributor and dispenser.

The lawsuit also asserts the company willfully ignored its own safeguard systems that are designed to protect consumers and monitor their drug consumption.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

On Monday, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) will present awards to four first responders who've been impactful in helping their communities deal with the opiate epidemic.

A Dayton artist is working on a new way to memorialize victims of the nation’s devastating opioid epidemic.

The project would create a memorial wall made of hand-cut mosaic tiles, called the  “Wall of Perseverance.”

The memorial is the brainchild of mosaic artist Jes McMillan, founder of the Mosaic Institute of Greater Dayton

Give Ohioans time to listen to one another and they are capable of developing a plan to turn around the addiction crisis. So why isn’t it happening?

Journalists from the Your Voice Ohio media collaborative of nearly 40 print, radio, television and web news outlets met with several hundred people across the state from late 2017 well into 2018. The journalists were with the people, at the table, listening and sharing different perspectives on the crisis killing 4,000 in the state annually.

Attorneys handling hundreds of lawsuits over the opioid crisis say they’re making progress in discussions between local governments and drug companies.

U.S. District Judge Dan Aaron Polster held a brief public hearing today to discuss the suits brought by cities, counties, Native American tribes and others against drug makers and distributors.

To the untrained, the evidence looks promising for a new medical device to ease opioid withdrawal. A small study shows that people feel better when the device, an electronic nerve stimulator called the Bridge, is placed behind their ear.

The company that markets the Bridge is using the study results to promote its use to anyone who will listen: policymakers, criminal justice officials and health care providers.

The message is working.

mitch mcconnell
Lisa Gillespie / WFPL

Kentucky employers and addiction treatment providers are throwing their weight behind Senator Mitch McConnell’s opioid bill introduced last week in the U.S. Senate.

first step home
provided

First Step Home is on the front lines of the opiate epidemic and is successfully helping women return to the community drug-free, as contributing members of society.

Drew was in his early 30s. His medical history included alcohol abuse, but he had been sober for several months when he became my patient.

His previous doctor had given him a prescription for Ativan, or lorazepam, which is frequently used to allay tremors and seizures from alcohol withdrawal.

It was a scheduling mishap that led Kourtnaye Sturgeon to help save someone’s life. About four months ago, Sturgeon drove to downtown Indianapolis for a meeting. She was a week early.

“I wasn’t supposed to be there,” she said.


Tana Weingartner / WVXU

The newest countywide heroin quick response team (QRT) is up and running. Team members made their first visits Tuesday using a donated Ford Explorer.

The U.S. Surgeon General has issued an advisory, encouraging more Americans to carry the overdose reversing drug naloxone.

It comes in the form of an injection or a nasal spray, known as Narcan, and is regularly carried by firefighters, EMTs and police officers, but the antidote is also becoming more and more common in Ohio schools.

In Lisbon, Education is More Than English and Math

Students at David Anderson Junior and Senior High School in Lisbon, Ohio, file into the auditorium on a Thursday morning.

This story comes from The Ohio Center For Investigative Journalism. Find out about local events focused on solutions to the opioid crisis below.

The most dangerous time for Cincinnati heroin addicts is not a typical party time: 3 p.m. on Wednesdays. For Columbus, it’s 6 p.m. on Thursdays, and in Akron, 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. 

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

No one in Kentucky is more than one person removed from the opioid epidemic, according to state health officials meeting Monday with U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams. The visit comes just days after Adams' call for more people to carry the overdose reversal drug naloxone.

As opioid-related deaths have continued to climb, naloxone, a drug that can reverse overdoses, has become an important part of the public health response.

When people overdosing struggle to breathe, naloxone can restore normal breathing and save their lives. But the drug has to be given quickly.

On Thursday, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued an advisory that encouraged more people to routinely carry naloxone.

As opiate deaths continue to climb in Ohio, there’s another deadly trend that’s apparently gaining popularity – drug combinations. 

Flickr

It’s a chilly March afternoon in Marysville, Ohio, and I’m riding around on a golf cart with Clara Golding Kent, the public information officer for the Ohio Reformatory for Women. It’s right after "count," when officials make sure the women serving time at Ohio's oldest prison are where they're supposed to be.

A health care association is touting what its members believe to be a clear path Ohioans can take to cut down on opioid addiction. This path would take a culture change when it comes to the reputation of alternative medicine.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

The numbers are in, and they aren't good.

Pixabay

With the opioid crisis continuing to ravage Ohio, the state issued a $10,000 challenge. Tuesday, five winners were announced, including Cincinnati's Kinematechs and a University of Dayton researcher.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Hamilton County's needle exchange program is fully operational. And officials are hoping it will do more than just allow people to trade dirty syringes for clean ones.

Jim Nolan/WVXU

With three new members, Cincinnati City Council is sworn in and gets to work, the region continues to suffer the effects of the opioid epidemic, Macy's announces the closing of its downtown store, the Ohio governor and senate races take shape and FC Cincinnati still waits to hear about its bid for a Major League Soccer franchise.

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Much of the reporting on the heroin crisis is focused on the tragic aspects of the epidemic, leaving people feeling helpless and hopeless without an end in sight. A local organization, the Urban Minority Alcohol & Drug Abuse Outreach Program (UMADAOP), says getting out a message of help and hope is equally as important as telling the story of risk and loss.

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This Friday, November 10, Northern Kentucky University will host the inaugural conference of the Ohio River Valley Addiction Research Consortium (ORVARC). The conference will focus on evidence-based research on neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

Wikimedia Commons

The year was 1908 and an Ohio doctor, appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as the nation's first Opium Commissioner, warned that Americans "have become the greatest drug fiends in the world." If the sentiment seems all too familiar in the grips of our current opioid epidemic, you'll find there are many similarities, and some shocking differences, between current times and a drug crisis that dates all the way back to the Civil War.

Wikimedia Commons

Hamilton County's leaders aren't counting on help from the state to build an opioid diversion center. Commissioners passed a motion directing the administration to look into building such a facility.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The maker of Narcan is making a research grant to Hamilton County that will provide nearly $2 million worth of the overdose antidote to combat the local heroin crisis.

Ohio Society of Interventional Pain Physicians

Medical professionals who help people dealing with chronic pain are gathering in Cincinnati this weekend. It will be the first meeting of the Ohio Society of Interventional Pain Physicians.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Boone and Kenton counties plan to sue three of the country's largest wholesale drug distributors. Fiscal courts in both counties say AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson Corporation are a big reason for Northern Kentucky's opioid epidemic.

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