opioid epidemic

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.

John Minchillo / Associated Press

Franklin County saw a small dip in overdose deaths in the first quarter of 2018, according to data released by the Franklin County Coroner's Office on Friday.

Principal Mary Ann Hale dreads weekends.

By the time Fridays roll around, 74-year-old Hale, a principal at West Elementary School in McArthur, Ohio, is overcome with worry, wondering whether her students will survive the couple of days away from school.

Too many children in this part of Ohio's Appalachian country live in unstable homes with a parent facing addiction. For years, the community has struggled with opioids. Ohio had the second-highest number of drug overdose deaths per capita in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Ohio Opioid Education Alliance

The Franklin County Opiate Action Plan announced a multi-million dollar effort to prevent youth drug abuse through awareness today. Dubbed the Ohio Opioid Education Alliance, it’s launched an ad campaign urging parents to not live in the fictional city of "Denial, Ohio."

More than 115 Americans are dying every day from an opioid overdose. But a study out Monday finds that just three in 10 patients revived by an EMT or in an emergency room received the follow-up medication known to avoid another life-threatening event.

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