opioid epidemic

One out of five Americans say they personally know someone who has been addicted to opioids or prescription painkillers, according to a new report about the economic well-being of U.S. households.

The Federal Reserve report, based on a national survey, also found that exposure to opioid addiction was twice as likely among whites, regardless of education level, as among African-Americans.

Mike DeWine and Richard Cordray
Associated Press

Democratic candidate for governor Richard Cordray says his Republican opponent Mike DeWine has failed to adequately address the opioid crisis as the state's Attorney General.

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.

Amanda Williammee pauses at the window of the toddler classroom at Horizons day care in Carrboro, N.C., to quietly check on her 2-year-old daughter Taycee.

"I like to peek in on her and see what she's doing before she sees me," Williammee says. "I love watching her — it's too funny."

There's a dance party in progress. Soon, Taycee spots her mom, screams and comes running to the door.

"Did you dance?" Williammee asks, leaning down to her daughter.

Alex Brandon / Associated Press

In a scene bringing back images of Big Tobacco CEOs taking the oath, the chair of Dublin-based drug distributor Cardinal Health appeared before a U.S. House subcommittee on Tuesday to apologize for how the company sent millions of pain pills into parts of West Virginia.

Forty-year-old local resident Mike, checked his cell phone recently, just outside the main entrance to St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, while waiting for an Uber car to pull up.

“Hi I’m Michael,” he said as he greeted the Uber driver before jumping into the back seat of the dark grey sedan.

Thomas Bradley / WOSU News

With the opioid crisis killing an estimated 11 Ohioans a day, Gov. John Kasich announced new rules for monitoring the prescribing of painkillers to patients suffering chronic pain.

Correction:  This story has been updated to clarify that the study refers to addressing acute dental pain.

A new study reveals that over-the-counter medication may be more effective than opioids in treating acute dental pain.

Anita Aminoshariae is a professor at the School of Dental Medicine at Case Western and one of the authors of the study.

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.

Sen. Sherrod Brown is introducing a bill tomorrow to provide funding for devices that detect fentanyl.

The POWER Act would provide funds for portable chemical screening devices, such as those being used by Customs and Border Protection agents. Sen. Brown says they’re needed because local law enforcement officers need to be able to test drugs in the field to ensure they’re not in danger of an accidental overdose, such as the one that happened last year to an officer in Columbiana County.

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.


Editor's note: Since this story was first posted, we have received word that Destini Johnson is regaining consciousness and is out of intensive care.

Last August, Destini Johnson practically danced out of jail, after landing there for two months on drug charges. She bubbled with excitement about her new freedom and returning home to her parents in Muncie, Ind. She even talked about plans to find a job.

Ohio’s foster care system has seen a significant increase in the number of children in protective custody.  It’s one of the ripple effects of the opioid crisis.  Last year, for example, a one-year-old was revived with Narcan after overdosing on an unknown opioid in Akron.  The child and the child's 9-year-old sibling were removed from the home and placed in the custody of Summit County Children's Services.  

The local governments suing drug companies over the opioid crisis say addiction has cost them—not just in damage to people’s lives, but in dollars and cents.

It’s hard to come up with a price tag, though. Numerous different agencies handle prevention, treatment and response to overdoses. The federal government, state of Ohio, foundations and local communities are all paying for the epidemic.

While the crisis hasn’t broken local budgets in the Mahoning Valley, it has burdened them, agency officials say.

Stopping Opioids At The County Jail

When you picture a person suffering from opioid addiction, who comes to mind? Do you picture a stranger, a friend or relative? Or how about ... a coworker?

If that hasn't crossed your mind, consider this: according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 50 percent of those who reported abusing pain medication also said they have a full-time job, while an additional 15 percent said they work part-time. That reality has some employers rethinking their approach to drug use in their workforce.

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