opioid epidemic

Alex Brandon / Associated Press

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced Friday the creation of a new task force in Cleveland aimed at taking down drug trafficking and violent crime.

Wikimedia Commons

A new report from a group of Ohio researchers documents an explosion in the number of overdose deaths involving methamphetamines and amphetamines.

Rural Americans can take a dim view of outsiders from Washington, D.C., (or even from the state capital) meddling in their communities.

Ronald Reagan summed up the feeling when he was president: "I've always felt the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government, and I'm here to help.' "

But rural Americans have come across scarier phrases since then, like "the opioid epidemic."

With the nation reeling from an epidemic of drug overdose deaths, President Trump signed legislation Wednesday that is aimed at helping people overcome addiction and preventing addictions before they start.

"Together we are going to end the scourge of drug addiction in America," Trump said at a White House event celebrating the signing. "We are going to end it or we are going to at least make an extremely big dent in this terrible, terrible problem."

The opioid legislation was a rarity for this Congress, getting overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers.

Larrecsa Cox is a paramedic, but instead of an ambulance with flashing lights and sirens, she drives around in an old, white sedan.

Her first call on a recent day in Huntington, W.Va, was to a quiet, middle-class neighborhood.

"He overdosed yesterday," Cox says. "And I think we've been here before. I'm almost 100 percent sure we've been to this house before."

Cox is the only full-time member of Huntington's new quick-response team — a collaborative project involving law enforcement, the county's medical first responders and several drug treatment providers.

Rep. Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) holds up a counterfeit bill to prove how realistic the fake money can look. His legislation, signed into law by Gov. John Kasich, makes counterfeiting illegal on the state level.
Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

Gov. John Kasich has signed a bill into law making counterfeiting illegal in Ohio. The use of fake money is a federal crime, but it was never outlawed on the state level until now.

Lawmakers see this as another tool in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

Updated at 4:37 p.m. ET

The American opioid crisis is far from over, but early data indicate the number of deaths are beginning to level off, according to Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, citing "encouraging" results in overdose trends.

In a speech on Tuesday at a Milken Institute health summit, Azar walked through statistics suggesting deaths were plateauing and he highlighted efforts he says may be turning the tide in the drug epidemic.

As the opioid epidemic has escalated around the nation, colleges and universities have been spared the brunt of it. Opioid addiction and overdoses are more rare on campuses than among young adults in the general population. But schools are not immune to the problem, and they're growing increasingly concerned about how to keep students safe.

New Hampshire State Forensic Lab

Voters in Ohio will see one statewide issue on the ballot. Supporters have said this constitutional amendment will steer non-violent drug offenders away from prison and into treatment. But opponents claim it will dismantle the work Ohio has already done to curb the opioid epidemic. 

Rural Americans are preoccupied with the problems of opioid and drug addiction in their communities, citing it as a worry on par with concerns about local jobs and the economy, according to a new poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

How The Opioid Epidemic Impacts Foster Care In Ohio

Oct 11, 2018
a4gpa / Flickr

Opioid addiction continues to deplete Ohio’s communities and is driving up the number of children entering foster care. It’s been a year since the Ohio Attorney General’s office granted money for 30 Days to Family Ohio to address the issue.

30 Days to Family Ohio was created to move children from foster care to family care in the shortest time possible. In its second year, the program is looking for more funding and county involvement.

Today on All Sides, we check in on the initiative and scope of foster care in Ohio.

In Philadelphia, a battle between local officials and the Trump administration is heating up.

In defiance of threats from the Justice Department, public health advocates in Philadelphia have launched a nonprofit to run a facility to allow people to use illegal drugs under medical supervision. It is the most concrete step yet the city has taken toward eventually opening a so-called supervised injection site.

The non-profit, called Safehouse, was formed after a political heavyweight, former Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell, joined the board.

Chronic pain patients speak out against new rules for prescribing opioids Chronic pain patients at Ohio Statehouse.
Jo Ingles / Ohio Public Radio

Last year, Ohio changed its rules for prescribing opioids, restricting amounts of, and circumstances under which, doctors can prescribe those narcotics. The new rules have an exemption for people who are in hospice type care for diseases like cancer. 

Jacqueline Abney is recovering from sustance abuse at Beacon House in Wooster.
Ohio Public Radio

Jacqueline Abney lives in the Beacon House, a residential treatment center that looks just like any other home you would see in the historic downtown area of Wooster. The only difference: Jacqueline is living with several other women struggling with substance abuse disorder.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray, left, and Ohio Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine wave to the crowd before a debate at Marietta College on Monday.
Paul Vernon / Associated Press

The Republican and Democratic candidates for governor met for their second face-to-face debate, this time taking questions from an audience and via social media at Marietta College.

The candidates were asked about energy, education, the environment and ECOT, the online charter school that closed earlier this year owing millions of dollars to the state for overinflating student attendance.

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