opioid epidemic | WOSU Radio

opioid epidemic

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

Ohio is the 12th unhealthiest state in the nation, according to the America's Health Rankings Annual Report released this week by the United Health Foundation. 

Seth Herald / Side Effects Public Media

Though the shops along Sullivant Ave. have all closed their doors for the night, a young woman walks alone down the alley behind the Seventh Day Adventist Church. She’s petite and wears lipstick, a tweed coat and blue jeans torn at the knee.

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

Dozens of lawsuits filed by cities, counties and states across the country against opioid manufacturers and distributors will be consolidated in an Ohio court after a ruling issued by a group of federal judges Tuesday.

At the National Black Caucus of State Legislators Conference in Indianapolis,  U.S. Surgeon General and former Indiana Health Commissioner Jerome Adam called for racial equity in addressing the opioid epidemic.

Syringe exchanges are a controversial concept. Even when they're successful at containing disease, they can be difficult to sell to the public. In Madison County, Indiana, residents' ethical concerns shut down a program, which was put in place to curb rates of hepatitis C.

In April this year, Katie Herzog checked into a Boston teaching hospital for what turned out to be a nine-hour-long back surgery.

The 68-year-old consulting firm president left the hospital with a prescription for Dilaudid, an opioid used to treat severe pain, and instructions to take two pills every four hours as needed. Herzog took close to the full dose for about two weeks.

About a month ago, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. He's spent a lot of time talking about the severity of the drug crisis. But he's spent less time outlining the specific steps he'll take to fight it. Today, a White House analysis declared that the true cost of the opioid epidemic in 2015 was more than half a trillion dollars.

When Adam Shay overdosed on heroin at 21 in 2014, his kidney and pancreas went to Karen Goodwin, a recovering addict herself. That unintended consequence of the opioid epidemic brought Goodwin together with Adam's mom, Marlene Shay.

At StoryCorps in Beachwood, Ohio, Shay recalls the day she got the call that every mother dreads.

Adam "had been in and out of rehab over the last three years, but he had been sober for a year and seemingly had it all together," she says. "And that day, we got a call from his fiancée that he overdosed and was slipping away."

For years the Food and Drug Administration has been trying to get doctors to quit prescribing codeine, an opioid painkiller, to children after getting their tonsils or adenoids out.

But it can be hard to get clinicians to change their prescribing habits, even when children have died and other less risky medications are available.

Federal health officials Tuesday issued a warning about kratom, a herbal product being promoted as a safe alternative to opioids for pain that is also marketed for treating addiction, anxiety and depression.

The Food and Drug Administration says there's insufficient evidence the supplement works to treat addiction or other problems and cited growing evidence it can be dangerous. Kratom may cause seizures, liver damage and withdrawal symptoms.

Lt. Governor Mary Taylor is one of the most politically-connected people in Ohio, but says she still felt helpless about her sons' addictions.
Andy Chow

Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor - who is running for the Republican nomination for governor next year - is pushing a plan to deal with opioids that some consider unusual, especially given her opposition to Medicaid expansion.

Jon McHann, 56, got started on prescription opioids the way a lot of adults in the U.S. did: He was in pain following an accident. In his case, it was a fall.

"I hit my tailbone just right, and created a severe bulging disc" that required surgery, McHann says.

McHann, who lives in Smithville, Tenn., expected to make a full recovery and go back to work as a heavy haul truck driver. But 10 years after his accident, he's still at home.

Gabe Rosenberg / WOSU

Among the many ballot measures and tax levies approved around Ohio, one in Vinton County could provide some relief from the opioid crisis.

Before dawn, about 75 Teamsters and their supporters held candles to honor those who've died or are still struggling with addiction.
Mike Thompson / WOSU

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters continued its pressure on Dublin-based drug distributor Cardinal Health Wednesday morning with a vigil to call attention to Cardinal’s role in the opioid crisis.

pills
Pixabay

A state database meant to help keep doctors and pharmacies on the same page about the prescription of opioids and other drugs is getting some new users.

Pages