opioid epidemic

CareSource Says Opioid Prescriptions Down 40 Percent

Aug 1, 2018

Ohio's largest Medicaid plan says the amount of opioids prescribed to its members has decreased 40 percent over the past 18 months.

CareSource announced Monday it plans to reduce that number by 50 percent by the end of this year.

The Dayton-based organization privately manages 1.8 million Medicaid plans. It says it notifies providers who prescribe a large amount of opioids to members, and can identify members at risk for substance misuse.

State health officials this week applied for federal funding to support needle exchange programs in Ohio.

That would provide a lifeline for the Canton Health Department’s SWAP program, which marked its first anniversary in June.

Director of nursing Diane Thompson says the needle exchange program has exceeded its goals, but its first year funding has dried up.

In hospitals across the country, anesthesiologists and other doctors are facing significant shortages of injectable opioids. Drugs such as morphine, Dilaudid and fentanyl are the mainstays of intravenous pain control and are regularly used in critical care settings like surgery, intensive care units and hospital emergency departments.

Ohio State Sen. Joe Schiavoni
John Minchillo / AP

Democratic leaders are calling on the state to release some of the $2.7 billion in the state’s Rainy Day Fund. One senator says that money can be used to invest in the people.

A new report from the federal department that oversees Medicaid finds that prescribers in Ohio may still be overprescribing opioids in some cases.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general looked at opioid prescriptions for Medicaid participants in Ohio between June of 2016 and May of 2017.

  • They found that close to 5,000 Medicaid recipients received high doses of opioids in that period and more than 40,000 children under 18 received prescriptions.

     

What A U.S.-China Trade War Could Mean For The Opioid Epidemic

Jul 6, 2018

The American struggle to curb opioid addiction could become collateral damage in President Donald Trump’s showdown on trade. 

John Minchillo / Associated Press

It was a busy holiday for Ohio groups behind two new constitutional amendments headed to ballots in the fall. Both proposals got thousands of petition signatures, but they still have their critics.

John Minchillo / Associated Press

While many Ohioans are enjoying picnics, parades and fireworks, community activists are hustling to meet the July 4 deadline for getting their ballot issue in front of voters.

fentanyl
Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

A state auditor's report looking at the impact of the opioid crisis on state Medicaid spending shows the number of Ohio Medicaid recipients with an opioid-related diagnosis quadrupling from 2010 to 2016.

Alexandria Santa Barbara is a 39-year-old mother of three from a working-class suburb of Philadelphia.

The addiction story for Santa Barbara, who goes by the name Alexis, follows a familiar course: She had been prescribed Percocet years ago to treat back pain. When the drug became unavailable, she turned to heroin. And she became hooked — not long after getting laid off from her job at a local deli.

Across the street from her, her neighbor, identified just as "J.M." in court papers, was also in the grip of an opioid addiction.

The past two years have been a time of reckoning for pharmaceutical manufacturers over their role in promoting opioid drugs that have fed a national epidemic.

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is touting a bill recently passed by Congress to support grandparents now raising their grandchildren in light of the opioid epidemic.

FPS Groningen / Flickr

Bob Jones of Trumbull County has recurring pain from an old injury, but he isn’t going to be getting opioids. He never wanted them anyway, and found his own solution for pain relief. 

The fact that rural, economically disadvantaged parts of the country broke heavily for the Republican candidate in the 2016 election is well known. But Medicare data indicate that voters in areas that went for Trump weren't just hurting economically — many of them were receiving prescriptions for opioid painkillers.

Ohio is among one of the hardest hit states by the opioid crisis. Yet, for five years in a row, Ohio along with every state in the U.S. has seen a continuous drop in opioid prescriptions.  Still the number of people who die from opioid overdoses continues to climb. This is all part of a national trend captured in a recent report from the American Medical Association.

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