opioid epidemic

Before the spreading coronavirus became a pandemic, Emma went to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting every week in the Boston area and to another support group at her methadone clinic. She says she felt safe, secure and never judged.

"No one is thinking, 'Oh my God, she did that?' " says Emma, "'cause they've been there."

Dozens of cities and 73 of Ohio’s 88 counties have signed on to a statewide opioid plan for potential settlements with drug companies, Gov. Mike DeWine’s office announced Wednesday.

The OneOhio plan would direct 30 percent of total settlement dollars to local governments. A statewide foundation would handle 55 percent and the remaining 15 would go to the attorney general’s office.

The foundation’s board would include members representing state officials and local jurisdictions.

Northeast Ohio local governments are weighing whether to join Attorney General Dave Yost’s One Ohio plan for dividing state opioid settlement money from drug companies.

The proposal would create a statewide foundation, run by both state and local appointees, to distribute 55 percent of any settlement dollars. Another 30 percent would go directly to local governments. The attorney general’s office would receive 15 percent.

Barriers To Addiction Treatment

Mar 4, 2020
OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vermont.
Toby Talbot / AP

People struggling with opioid addiction are not monolithic - they come to their addiction from many different places.

Cuyahoga County Council took a deeper look Monday into the $23 million plan to fund drug treatment, a new drug court, a jail diversion center and other with the first wave of money paid out by drug companies to settle lawsuits over the opioid crisis.

Franklin County Coroner Anahi Ortiz briefed the media on February 26, 2020 on deaths by suicide, drug overdose and homicide.
Nicole Rasul / WOSU

Franklin County Coroner Anahi Ortiz announced Wednesday that suicide and homicide deaths have increased 40% from the same period last year, while overdose deaths have gone up by 49%.

Last year, unintentional overdose deaths decreased 11% in Hamilton County. Now public officials are working together to tackle a more long-term issue: addiction.

Updated 11:41 a.m. ET Thursday

After a two-year battle, the Philadelphia nonprofit Safehouse says next week it will open the first space in the U.S. where people struggling with addiction can use opioids and other illegal drugs under the supervision of trained staff.

The RREACT cars are part of a program to provide overdose victims with treatment.
Columbus City Council

Columbus City Council on Monday night approved $371,523 in federal money to help fund a second Rapid Response Emergency Addiction Crisis Team in Franklin County. 

South Central Ohio Job and Family Services covers Ross, Vinton and Hocking counties.
Gabe Rosenberg / WOSU

The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is creating a $1 million Emergency Response Fund to help agencies and caseworkers burdened by the ongoing opioid epidemic. 

A jug of used needles to exchange in Camden, N.J., on Oct. 29, 2015.
Mel Evans / Associated Press

Faith and community leaders plan to ask the Licking County Board of Health to repeal a ban on syringe access programs at the board’s meeting Tuesday.

Paige Pfleger / WOSU

Tammy’s struggle with substance use started with pain pills she found in her grandmother’s cabinet. Then it escalated to heroin.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine handles a box of Narcan during a news conference on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, in Cincinnati.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

Gov. Mike DeWine says he is cautiously satisfied with the terms of a potential massive settlement against drug companies and distributors who have been accused of enabling the opioid crisis.

Communities across the Midwest have been devastated by the opioid epidemic. But there's still a lot of misunderstanding about how opioids affect our bodies. A new and unusual museum exhibit is tackling this issue. 

Michele Rout is an assistant law director in the city of Chillicothe, one of the places in Ohio hardest hit by the opioid epidemic.

But her experience with the human toll of the crisis goes beyond the courtroom.

Rout and her husband are raising two grandchildren who were exposed to opioids before birth and experienced symptoms of withdrawal afterward — a condition known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS).

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