drug addiction

As the opioid crisis continued to plague communities across the country, this year. several states have joined a handful of others in declaring opioid emergencies. President Trump recently labeled the crisis a national public "health emergency." That drew attention to the issue, but did not come with any new funding.

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A handful of students sit in a classroom, inside an old school building on the South Side of Columbus. Columbus resident David Givens is one of them.

In April this year, Katie Herzog checked into a Boston teaching hospital for what turned out to be a nine-hour-long back surgery.

The 68-year-old consulting firm president left the hospital with a prescription for Dilaudid, an opioid used to treat severe pain, and instructions to take two pills every four hours as needed. Herzog took close to the full dose for about two weeks.

When President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, it came with a regulatory change intended to make it easier for people to get care. The declaration allows for doctors to prescribe addiction medicine virtually, without ever seeing the patient in person.

In Indiana, this kind of virtual visit has been legal since early 2017. So I called about a dozen addiction specialists in Indiana to find out how it was going. But no one had heard of doctors using telemedicine for opioid addiction treatment until I ran across Dr. Jay Joshi.

Addiction specialists caution against reading too much into a new study released this week that compares two popular medications for opioid addiction. This much-anticipated research is the largest study so far to directly compare the widely used treatment Suboxone with relative newcomer Vivitrol.

Researchers who compared the two drugs found them equally effective once treatment started. But there are fundamental differences in the way treatment begins, which makes these findings difficult to interpret.

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The state is redesigning the way mental health and addiction services are covered under health care plans. Those services are critical in fighting the deadly opioid crisis. That means a lot of testing is needed before implementing the new system.

Dr. Teresa Long (center) talks about National Drug Take Back Day with (l-r) Columbus Fire Department Assistant Chief Jim Davis, Franklin County Chief Deputy Rick Minerd and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

As the opioid crisis rages on, public health officials have been urging people to get rid of prescription painkillers that are no longer needed. Communities around the state are holding events this Saturday, which is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.

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The state's first treatment center for drug-exposed babies is set to open next month in Kettering. Brigid’s Path aims to provide inpatient medical care for newborns with neonatal abstinence syndrome, also known as NAS.

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Soon, former inmates leaving the Franklin County jail will have the option to be injected with Vivitrol, an anti-addiction drug meant to prevent opioid relapses.

Telling the Stories of the Opioid Crisis

Aug 22, 2017
Aaron Goodman

With much national attention being focused on reforming drug policies and laws there hasn't been much room for the voices of those living with drug addiction. 

The other side of the opioid crisis is explored in a conversation about the real lives and realities of drug users, how addiction finds people and how addicts are depicted in popular culture. 

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