opioid epidemic | WOSU Radio

opioid epidemic

Gov. John Kasich rolls out official prescription drug rules for acute pain at the Ohio Statehouse.
Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

Ohio health officials said on Wednesday that more than 4,000 people died from drug overdoses in Ohio in 2016. That death toll was up by 33 percent over the previous year.

As Gov. John Kasich rolls out more ways to crack down on painkiller prescriptions, critics believe there’s an obvious resource that’s not being utilized in the opioid crisis.

Each year, more than 300 patients with chronic pain take part in a three-week program at the Pain Rehabilitation Center at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Their complaints range widely, from specific problems such as intractable lower-back pain to systemic issues such as fibromyalgia. By the time patients enroll, many have tried just about everything to get their chronic pain under control. Half are taking opioids.

The maker of Narcan is making a research grant to Hamilton County that will provide nearly $2 million worth of the overdose antidote to combat the local heroin crisis.

prescription medicine bottles
David Kessler / Flickr Creative Commons

Medical professionals who help people dealing with chronic pain are gathering in Cincinnati this weekend. It will be the first meeting of the Ohio Society of Interventional Pain Physicians.

father and son holding hands
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The number of children in Ohio who are placed in foster care continues to increase as the opioid crisis worsens. State officials say that's led to a shortage of foster parents.

A bipartisan coalition of mayors from 30 Ohio cities are asking Gov. John Kasich to take a major step in fighting opioids. They want an emergency-level statewide clearinghouse to monitor the opioid crisis.

tpsdave/Pixabay

An organization representing Ohio big-city mayors wants Republican Gov. John Kasich to establish an emergency operations center to coordinate the state's response to the opioid crisis.

On a cold morning last winter, Christopher Hinds says he woke up early, sick from withdrawal. He called a friend and they trekked across a highway, walking for more than two miles through the snow on a street without sidewalks to buy heroin. 

“You don’t think about nothing but getting it when you’re sick like that,” he says. 

ideastream

Franklin County has a new Opioid Czar: Amy O’Grady. O’Grady started last week as a senior policy analyst for the Columbus City Council, and will oversee the county’s efforts to combat the opiate epidemic.

doctor
Pixabay

It’s not unusual for pharmaceutical companies to offer payments to doctors – for speaking fees, for travel expenses, for lunches and for gifts. But a new study shows 1 in 5 family doctors in America have received a payment involving an opioid medication – and Ohio is among the top states in the country in terms of money changing hands.

Tia Hosler woke up at 7:35 a.m. on a friend’s couch next to her newborn son’s crib after an overnight babysitting gig.

The 26-year-old had slept through her alarm and was late for the bus, her ride to group therapy in Fort Wayne, Indiana. And now she had to scramble. She tied her Kool-Aid-red hair into a tight bun and kissed her 2-month-old, Marsean. 


The city of Cincinnati wants three major drug distributors to pay for the opioid epidemic.

The city is the latest to file suit against AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson Corporation. A federal lawsuit alleges the companies let an epidemic run unchecked. A release from the city says those three companies account for 80 percent of the market for prescription opioids.

SPR Therapeutics

More than a year ago, 80-year old Helen Douglass described her shoulder and forearm pain following a stroke as 9 out of 10. Last summer, the Cleveland-area resident participated in a clinical trial for SPRINT, a small wearable stimulator patch. Now, she says she has no pain.

Opioid abuse is a crisis, but is it an emergency?

That's the question gripping Washington after President Trump's Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis recommended that the president declare the epidemic a national emergency.

It's always appealing to think that there could be an easy technical fix for a complicated and serious problem.

For example, wouldn't it be great to have a vaccine to prevent addiction?

"One of the things they're actually working on is a vaccine for addiction, which is an incredibly exciting prospect," said Dr. Tom Price, secretary of Health and Human Services.

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