opioid epidemic

A few years ago, Renea Molden's doctors told her they wanted to take her off her opioid pills.

"I was mad, I'll be honest. I was mad. I was frustrated," she says.

Molden, of Kansas City, Mo., is 40 and struggles with chronic pain because of fibromyalgia, bulging disks and degenerative disk disease. Her doctors told her they worried about the possibility of her taking hydrocodone for the rest of her life. She told them those three pills she took every day seemed to be the only way she could make it through work, going shopping or even fixing dinner.

Adam / Wikipedia

Ohioans are being prescribed fewer opioids.

Even though about 11 Ohioans continue dying from drug overdoses every day, new data from the Ohio Board of Pharmacy say for the fifth year in a row, the number of prescription painkillers dispensed in the state fell in 2017.

Updated on March 2 at 10:47 a.m. ET

The White House convened a summit on the opioid epidemic Thursday, where first lady Melania Trump said she is proud of the what the administration has already accomplished on the issue, but that "we all know there is much work still to be done."

Although he had not been expected to participate, President Trump briefly joined the event.

Opioids are on the White House agenda Thursday — President Trump plans to talk with members of his administration about the crisis. Meanwhile, all around the United States, state legislators, treatment providers, families and many others will be listening.

Susan Walsh / Associated Press

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and his counterparts from a half dozen other states joined U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to announce the next steps in the battle against opioid addiction. 

Linda Chambers holds a picture of her son, Scottie Childers, who died of an opioid overdose in January 2017.
Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

A mother says her son would still be alive if the state had a law that sent people back to jail if they fail a drug test while on parole. Currently, probation officers can use their judgment. A bill would take that discretion away.

John Minchillo / Associated Press

Ohio's Republican Senator Rob Portman is backing a plan to cap opioid prescriptions and make it easier for people to access treatment.

Ohio Statehouse in Columbus
Alexander Smith / Wikimedia Commons

State lawmakers have introduced their plan to spend more than $2.6 billion on capital improvements throughout Ohio.

Dublin-based Cardinal Health is making a leadership chance as lawsuits surrounding the opioid crisis mount.
Kiichiro Sato / AP

The state of Ohio is joining cities, counties and some other states in suing four companies that distributed prescription painkillers that officials say helped fuel the deadly opioid crisis. And one of the targets is right here in Central Ohio.

Columbus Public Health Dept.

Columbus public health officials say they can save lives by giving women addicted to drugs an easier way to care for their reproductive health care needs. At the CompDrug facility on the city's North Side, about 700 women are getting help from a new clinic that hopes to not just save lives, but improve them.

On a Saturday afternoon at the downtown Columbus, Ohio courthouse, close to 20 men sat in a conference room; arms crossed, eyes staring blankly ahead, listening to a lecture. One white-haired man with glasses and hearing aids yelled for the presenter to speak up.


NPR's "Take A Number" series is exploring problems around the world — and solutions — through the lens of a single number.

One of the places many people are first prescribed opioids is a hospital emergency room. But in one of the busiest ERs in the U.S., doctors are relying less than they used to on oxycodone, Percocet, Vicodin and other opioids to ease patients' pain.

Dublin-based Cardinal Health is making a leadership chance as lawsuits surrounding the opioid crisis mount.
Kiichiro Sato / AP

Kentucky’s attorney general has added a lawsuit by his state to the more than 300 already filed against one of Central Ohio’s biggest companies, accusing it of playing a big role in creating the opioid crisis.

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

The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control show the number of opioid overdose deaths is higher in Ohio than all but two other states, and the rate of increase is third in the nation as well.

The opioid epidemic has cost the U.S. more than a trillion dollars since 2001, according to a new study, and may exceed another $500 billion over the next three years.

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