opioid epidemic

At the Middletown, Ohio, fire department, calls for actual fires are rare. These days the station responds to more calls for drug overdoses — four to five a day on average.

Firefighter Bryan Oliver goes on a lot of these runs. Oliver and his team administer Naloxone and then perform CPR. He says they may treat the same patient for multiple overdoses, sometimes in the same day.

"Anybody you talk to who does this job will tell you it's frustrating and you put that to the side because you have a job to do," he says.

Medina Republican Larry Obhof
Ohio Senate

The Senate has unveiled its version of the two-year state budget. It dedicates even more money for the state to fight the opioid epidemic and includes more money for most schools. But it also comes with spending cuts for state agencies and outright elimination of some programs.

Two years ago, a mental health advocate named Steve McCaffrey stood at a lectern in the Indiana statehouse, testifying in favor of an addiction treatment bill. After years of rising overdose rates, lawmakers in the health committee were taking action to combat the opioid epidemic. And they often turned to McCaffrey, who leads Mental Health America of Indiana, to advise them.

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

A day after Ohio’s attorney general sued five drug makers for their role in the state’s opioid crisis, Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor is opening up about her own family’s struggles with addition.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announces a law suit against five major drug companies.
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

Ohio’s Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against five major drug companies that make opioids, saying they have contributed to the overdose crisis here. Ohio leads the nation in the number of opioid deaths, with more than 4000 in 2016.

File photo

The Ohio Attorney General is suing five drug makers for their alleged role perpetrating the state's addictions epidemic.

Guards at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville plan to picket outside the prison Wednesday, trying to draw attention to what they call state efforts to downplay the issue of drugs in prisons.

Treatment and prevention programs are an important part of the effort against opioid addiction, the former U.S. surgeon general said in Cleveland yesterday.

Dr. Vivek Murthy spoke at the Global Center for Health Innovation on Thursday with the acting head of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Dr. Toby Cosgrove, the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic.

In an interview before the panel, Murthy said prevention efforts could focus on helping kids learn social and emotional skills.

New Hampshire State Forensic Lab

Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner Dr. Thomas Gilson says the mixing of deadly synthetic heroin with cocaine is spreading the opioid crisis to the African American community.

Karen Kasler / Statehouse News

In his State of the State speech last month, Gov. John Kasich announced he wants the state’s Third Frontier commission to spend $20 million toward high-tech solutions to the deadly opioid crisis. The panel has taken the first step toward doing that.

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