opioid epidemic

Velva Poole has spent about 20 years as a social worker, mostly in Louisville, Ky. She's seen people ravaged by methamphetamines and cocaine; now it's mostly opioids. Most of her clients are parents who have lost custody of their children because of drug use. Poole remembers one mom in particular.

"She had her kids removed the first time for cocaine. And then she had actually gotten them back," she says. But three months later, the mother relapsed and overdosed on heroin.

Associated Press

As the primary comes closer, the four Democratic men who would like to be Ohio’s next governor are talking up their ideas to battle the state’s opioid crisis. The options range from using Ohio’s rainy-day fund to medical marijuana.

New research finds that fentanyl is far more common than heroin in overdose deaths in Indianapolis and that blacks are particularly affected.

In 2017, nearly half of the people who died from an overdose in Marion County, where Indianapolis is located, had fentanyl in their system. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times stronger than morphine.

Richard Cordray
Steve Helber / Associated Press

Appearing with Mayor Andrew Ginther in Columbus on Monday, Richard Cordray announced his plan to combat the opioid epidemic in Ohio.

Clare Roth / WOSU

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, said he’s encouraged by the approach of Ohio State University researchers in tackling the opioid crisis.

In a refrigerator in the coroner’s office in Marion County, Indiana, rows of vials await testing. They contain blood, urine and vitreous, the fluid collected from inside a human eye. In overdose cases, the fluids may contain clues for investigators. 


Pablo Martinez / Associated Press

President Trump laid out a plan for combating the opioid epidemic during a speech Monday in New Hampshire, and one of his proposals would make it easier for local treatment facilities to provide beds for inpatient addiction care.

President Trump outlined a wide-ranging plan to combat the opioid epidemic on Monday, including an ad campaign to discourage drug use, expand addiction treatment and pursue a get-tough approach to law enforcement.

"Whether you are a dealer or doctor or trafficker or a manufacturer, if you break the law and illegally peddle these deadly poisons, we will find you, we will arrest you, and we will hold you accountable," Trump told an audience in Manchester, N.H.

"Failure is not an option," he added. "Addiction is not our future."

The largest business group in the state has put together a free online toolkit for any employer who’s dealing with opioid problems in the workplace – showing just how serious the epidemic is to businesses in Ohio.

How Many Opioid Overdoses Are Suicides?

Mar 15, 2018

Mady Ohlman was 22 on the evening some years ago when she stood in a friend's bathroom looking down at the sink.

"I had set up a bunch of needles filled with heroin because I wanted to just do them back-to-back-to-back," Ohlman recalls. She doesn't remember how many she injected before collapsing, or how long she lay drugged-out on the floor.

"But I remember being pissed because I could still get up, you know?"

She wanted to be dead, she says, glancing down. A wisp of straight brown hair slips from behind an ear across her thin face.

Updated March 9, 2018 at 4:55 p.m.

Nine of 12 individuals charged in U.S. District Court in Ohio in a narcotics and money laundering scheme are in custody following a year-long FBI investigation. More than 40 others are charged in San Diego, Columbus, Lexington, Kansas and Washington in a case with ties to the Mexican Sinaloa Cartel.

The current drug addiction crisis began in rural America, but it's quickly spreading to urban areas and into the African-American population in cities across the country.

"It's a frightening time," says Dr. Edwin Chapman, who specializes in drug addiction in Washington, D.C., "because the urban African-American community is dying now at a faster rate than the epidemic in the suburbs and rural areas."

An analysis released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides further links between syringe services programs and preventing HIV. 


Ohio Governor John Kasich speaks during the Ohio State of the State address in the Fritsche Theater at Otterbein University in Westerville, Tuesday, March 6, 2018.
Paul Vernon / Associated Press

Gov. John Kasich gave his final State of the State speech Tuesday night, at Otterbein University in his hometown of Westerville. He didn’t unveil any new programs but he did talk about values.

There's more bad news about the nation's devastating opioid epidemic.

In just one year, overdoses from opioids jumped by about 30 percent, according to a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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