opioid epidemic

Ohio U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown
J. Scott Applewhite / AP

While lawmakers from both parties battle over politics, there is some movement on bipartisan efforts to fight the deadly drug fentanyl in Congress.

Americans know the dangers of drugs such as morphine and heroin. But what about a supplement that acts in the brain a bit like an opiate and is available in many places to kids — even from vending machines.

Kratom, an herb that's abundant, legal in most states and potentially dangerous, is the subject of an ongoing debate over its risks and benefits.

In this May 30, 2019, file photo, a CVS store with the new HealthHUB is shown in Spring, Texas.
David J. Phillips / AP

A series of pharmacy chains argued in federal court that doctors and other health care practitioners who write prescriptions bear ultimate responsibility for improper distribution of opioids to patients, rather than the pharmacists who are obliged to fill those prescriptions.

fentanyl
Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

The Franklin County Coroner’s Office says the number of fatal overdoses during the first nine months of 2019 grew from the same period the year before.

India Hardy has lived with pain since she was a toddler — from dull persistent aches to acute flare-ups that interrupt the flow of her normal life.

The pain is from sickle cell disease, a group of genetic conditions that affect about 100,000 people in the U.S., many of them of African or Hispanic descent.

Sitting in the afternoon heat on her mom's porch in Athens, Ga., Hardy remembers how a recent "crisis" derailed her normal morning routine.

Legal battles over the opioid crisis will carry on into 2020, as several more cases begin to move toward trial in federal courts around the country.

After overseeing thousands of opioid lawsuits from his Cleveland courtroom for the past two years, U.S. District Judge Dan Polster has begun sending cases to other federal judges. Polster has recommended that suits brought by the Cherokee Nation, city of Chicago and San Francisco be moved to federal courts in Oklahoma, Illinois and California.

The Ohio River Valley has seen some of the largest jumps in mortality rates among people in midlife — those between ages 25 and 64 — in recent years.

Michael Bloomberg visiting Planks on Parsons in Columbus.
Nick Evans / WOSU

Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has made his first presidential campaign visit to Ohio. 

Religious leaders in Stark County are taking new steps in an effort to reduce opioid overdoses.

Participating houses of worship will help distribute naloxone to anyone who needs it.

Naloxone is already available county wide. But some people are not comfortable going into health centers to get the lifesaving drug.

Rev. Walter Moss is president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Association of Stark County and vicinity. He said providing naloxone is about helping the community.

Updated at 1:22 p.m. ET

The family that owns Purdue Pharma pulled billions of dollars from the company after introducing its signature opioid medication, OxyContin, growing personally wealthy as the heavily marketed drug took on a significant role in a nationwide addiction crisis.

Major League Baseball announced changes to its drug use and testing policies on Thursday, removing marijuana from its "drugs of abuse" while announcing mandatory tests for cocaine and opioids. The policy will be effective starting in 2020 during spring training.

Players who test positive for prohibited substances, which include fentanyl and LSD, will be evaluated and prescribed a treatment plan. Those who don't obey the league's plan may be punished.

House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) unveil new cameras installed in a committee room in March.
Andy Chow / Statehouse News Bureau

Both the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Ohio House say that voters won't see a constitutional amendment proposed by Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost.

Dave Yost speaks at the Ohio Republican Party event, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. Yost was elected as the next Ohio attorney general.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

The Ohio Attorney General's office has crafted a proposal that would put guardrails around potential opioid lawsuit settlement money to make sure the funds are used specifically for the opioid epidemic.

When Matthew Braun gets out of medical school, he'll be able to prescribe opioids.

A decade ago, he was addicted to them.

"The first time I ever used an opioid, I felt the most confident and powerful I'd ever felt," Braun says. "So I said, 'This is it. I want to do this the rest of my life.' "

Opioids took away his anxiety, his inhibitions, his depression. And they were easy to get.

"I just started breaking into houses," Braun says. "I found it amazing how trusting people were in leaving windows open and doors unlocked, and I found a lot of prescriptions."

Erica Watkins is now a regular at TITLE Boxing Club in Indianapolis.
Carter Barrett / Side Effects Public Media

It’s a Friday evening and a dozen or so people – men, women, teenagers, little kids – are gathered at TITLE Boxing Club. It’s an upscale boxing studio near a largely vacant shopping mall on Indianapolis' north side.

Pages