opioid epidemic

Medina Republican Larry Obhof
Ohio Senate

The Senate has unveiled its version of the two-year state budget. It dedicates even more money for the state to fight the opioid epidemic and includes more money for most schools. But it also comes with spending cuts for state agencies and outright elimination of some programs.

Two years ago, a mental health advocate named Steve McCaffrey stood at a lectern in the Indiana statehouse, testifying in favor of an addiction treatment bill. After years of rising overdose rates, lawmakers in the health committee were taking action to combat the opioid epidemic. And they often turned to McCaffrey, who leads Mental Health America of Indiana, to advise them.

Lt. Governor Mary Taylor is one of the most politically-connected people in Ohio, but says she still felt helpless about her sons' addictions.
Andy Chow

A day after Ohio’s attorney general sued five drug makers for their role in the state’s opioid crisis, Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor is opening up about her own family’s struggles with addition.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announces a law suit against five major drug companies.
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

Ohio’s Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against five major drug companies that make opioids, saying they have contributed to the overdose crisis here. Ohio leads the nation in the number of opioid deaths, with more than 4000 in 2016.

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The Ohio Attorney General is suing five drug makers for their alleged role perpetrating the state's addictions epidemic.

Guards at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville plan to picket outside the prison Wednesday, trying to draw attention to what they call state efforts to downplay the issue of drugs in prisons.

Treatment and prevention programs are an important part of the effort against opioid addiction, the former U.S. surgeon general said in Cleveland yesterday.

Dr. Vivek Murthy spoke at the Global Center for Health Innovation on Thursday with the acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Dr. Toby Cosgrove, the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic.

In an interview before the panel, Murthy said prevention efforts could focus on helping kids learn social and emotional skills.

New Hampshire State Forensic Lab

Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson says the mixing of deadly synthetic heroin with cocaine is spreading the opioid crisis to the African American community.

Karen Kasler / Statehouse News

In his State of the State speech last month, Gov. John Kasich announced he wants the state’s Third Frontier commission to spend $20 million toward high-tech solutions to the deadly opioid crisis. The panel has taken the first step toward doing that.

The new BCI drug testing lab in Springfield, Ohio.
Jess Mador / WYSO

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, along with officials from Clark County and the city of Springfield, unveiled a new Bureau of Criminal Investigation lab in downtown Springfield on Tuesday.

Ideastream

Both of Ohio’s U.S. Senators have introduced a bipartisan bill they say will help combat the opioid abuse problems in the Buckeye State.

Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) introduces plan to pull $200 million from the Ohio Rainy Day Fund to fight opioid addiction.
Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

Democratic senators believe Ohio has reached a critical point in the opioid epidemic and needs to turn to extreme measures in order to tackle the problem.

In March, President Trump called opioid abuse in the U.S. "a total epidemic," and issued an executive order creating a commission focused on combating the opioid crisis.

There’s a new drug on the streets in three states, including Ohio. And the state’s top law enforcement official says it is already causing overdoses. 

Healthcare Costs / Flickr Creative Commons

Ohio health care advocates are reacting to Thursday's passage of a GOP health bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The bill is far from becoming reality. But, if passed into law, the “American Health Care Act” would make a long list of changes to the country’s health-care system.

Mount Carmel West

Charlie Stewart is tall, 25 years old, and broad shouldered. He’s wearing a grey polo-shirt and slacks, and starts each morning with a protein shake.

Every Tuesday you can find him walking the narrow linoleum halls of the emergency department at Mount Carmel West.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has proposed hiring its own prosecutor corps to bring cases related to drug trafficking, money laundering and asset forfeiture — a move that advocacy groups warn could exceed the DEA's legal authority and reinvigorate the 1980s-era war on drugs.

Rep Ryan Smith presents a poster identifying how opioid dollars will be spent..
Jo Ingles / Ohio Public Radio

The Ohio House’s version of the two year budget adds more than $170 million to fight Ohio’s opioid crisis and adds $80 million for the state’s K-12 schools.

File Photo

Ohio’s opioid crisis has been tearing through the state causing one tragedy after another. For months, Democrats have been calling on Gov. John Kasich to release rainy day funds to aid in the fight. One Republican who wants to replace him was asked at a broadcasters' gathering to weigh in on that.

Nearly 1.5 million Americans were treated for addiction to prescription opioids or heroin in 2015, according to federal estimates, and when those people get seriously hurt or need surgery, it's often not clear, even to many doctors, how to safely manage their pain. For some former addicts, what begins as pain relief ends in tragedy.

prescription drugs and money
StockMonkeys.com

A program announced last month to help children hurt by their parents' addictions is already expanding in Ohio.

John Kasich
File photo / John Kasich

Gov. John Kasich had strong words for leaders in Washington from his own party. Kasich’s comments came amid uncertainty over Ohio’s fiscal future.

The trouble started for Lisa when she took a blood pressure pill and one to control seizures, along with methadone, a drug used to help wean patients off heroin.

"I inadvertently did the methadone cocktail and I went to sleep for like 48 hours," Lisa says, rolling her eyes and coughing out a laugh. "It kicked my butt. It really kicked my butt."

Teresa Long (left), Columbus Health Commissioner, at the Columbus Metropolitan Club forum on opioid abuse.
Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

Some of the biggest players in the fight against Ohio’s opioid abuse told business leaders that the epidemic might be closer than they think and warned them to be prepared.

The opioid epidemic has intensified the call for alternatives to narcotics for people with acute and chronic pain.

In last week’s State of the State, Ohio Governor John Kasich said he wants to put more money toward finding other options. He recommended devoting $20 million to help Ohio researchers develop new technologies to fight pain.

The rate of babies born with drug withdrawal is eight times larger than the rate 10 years ago. Officials say the sharp climb is a direct result of Ohio’s opioid epidemic.

J.D. Vance/Facebook

After chronicling his experience growing up in small-town Ohio, and becoming an election-year point of discussion, author J.D. Vance is moving home. Or at least to Columbus.

Greta Johnson

Just months after being reelected to the Ohio legislature, Akron-area representative Greta Johnson will step down this weekend to become the deputy law director for Summit County. Before she left, though, she penned a scathing open letter to Governor Kasich about what she calls his "hypocrisy" around fighting the opioid epidemic.

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Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced a program to help families hurt by parents' addiction to painkillers and heroin.

Flickr

A new study on calls to poison control centers, conducted in part by Nationwide Children's Center, found surprising information about kids' and teens' ingestion of opioids.

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