opioid epidemic

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Sen. Sherrod Brown has introduced legislation to address what he says is a growing problem for employers and for people getting treatment for addiction.

The U.S. Surgeon General has issued an advisory, encouraging more Americans to carry the overdose reversing drug naloxone.

It comes in the form of an injection or a nasal spray, known as Narcan, and is regularly carried by firefighters, EMTs and police officers, but the antidote is also becoming more and more common in Ohio schools.

In Lisbon, Education is More Than English and Math

Students at David Anderson Junior and Senior High School in Lisbon, Ohio, file into the auditorium on a Thursday morning.

North Ridgeville resident Adrian Frederick said he’s had horrible leg pain for years, caused by a surgery he had involving cancer. The pain is constant, and gets worse at night.

“I’m just willing to try anything at this point,” Frederick said. “I’m just sick of being in pain all the time.”

John Minchillo / Associated Press

This story comes from The Ohio Center For Investigative Journalism. Find out about local events focused on solutions to the opioid crisis below.

The most dangerous time for Cincinnati heroin addicts is not a typical party time: 3 p.m. on Wednesdays. For Columbus, it’s 6 p.m. on Thursdays, and in Akron, 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. 

Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown
John Minchillo / Associated Press

At a City Club of Cleveland speech Monday, Sen. Sherrod Brown called for a major public health campaign to combat opioid addiction. The Ohio Democrat pointed to anti-smoking programs as a model.

David C. Barnett / ideastream

In December 2016, a man walked into the Willloughby-Eastlake Public Library and collapsed.

Chances are, you — or someone you know — has suffered from lower back pain.

It can be debilitating. It's a leading cause of disability globally.

And the number of people with the often-chronic condition is likely to increase.

The Ohio State University

More than 400 people are killed by drugs in central Ohio yearly – mostly by opioids. More than half are under age 40 – in the prime of their lives physically and only halfway through their careers.

It took several months and a team of half a dozen doctors, nurses and therapists to help Kim Brown taper off the opioid painkillers she’d been on for two years.

Brown had been taking the pills since an injury in 2014. It wasn’t until she met Dr. Dennis McManus, a neurologist who specializes in non-pharmacological approaches to pain management that she learned she had some control over her pain.

“That’s when life changed,” she said.


It’s a chilly March afternoon in Marysville, Ohio, and I’m riding around on a golf cart with Clara Golding Kent, the public information officer for the Ohio Reformatory for Women. It’s right after "count," when officials make sure the women serving time at Ohio's oldest prison are where they're supposed to be.

fentanyl
Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

The Franklin County Coroner's office released preliminary numbers on overdose deaths in 2017 in the county. Last year, 520 people died from drug overdoses, up 47 percent from the year before. 

Medical marijuana appears to have put a dent in the opioid abuse epidemic, according to two studies published Monday.

The research suggests that some people turn to marijuana as a way to treat their pain, and by so doing, avoid more dangerous addictive drugs. The findings are the latest to lend support to the idea that some people are willing to substitute marijuana for opioids and other prescription drugs.

Our Take A Number series is looking at problems around the world — and people trying to solve them — through the lens of a single number.

In Huntington, W.Va., the number is 10. As in, the rate of babies born with a drug dependency there is 10 times the national average.

It's a number that shows the magnitude of the opioid crisis in this blue collar city. It's also one of the numbers that has prompted two very different people in this community to say, "Enough."

A pipe was the only sign of drug use found near Chris Bennett's body in November. But it looked like the 32-year-old Taunton, Mass., native had stopped breathing and died of an opioid overdose. Bennett's mother, Liisa, couldn't understand what happened. Then she saw the toxicology report.

"I'm convinced he was smoking cocaine that was laced," she says. "That's what he had in his system, [it] was cocaine and fentanyl."

Naloxone is an antidote that can help reverse drug overdoses.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

The Franklin County Coroner's Office has recorded a "dramatic increase" in overdose deaths, a total of 18 in one week.  

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