opioid epidemic

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.

The RREACT cars are part of a program to provide overdose victims with treatment.
Columbus City Council

Columbus City Council recently voted to invest more in an innovative program to help connect people who overdose with treatment.

The nationwide opioid lawsuits are far from over.

After last month’s settlement with drug makers and distributors, lawyers for Cuyahoga and Summit counties are focusing on the next set of defendants: pharmacies.

At the start of this month, attorneys for the two counties asked the court permission to add new claims against pharmacies to their lawsuits. The claims accuse pharmacy chains of failing to look out for suspicious opioid prescriptions.

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

Ohio law permits pharmacists to give the overdose antidote Naloxone without a prescription to people who deal with opioid addiction. One lawmaker is proposing a measure to help ensure pharmacists follow through.

A Chinese court has imposed a suspended death sentence on one accused drug trafficker and hit eight others with life sentences and other prison terms, after the nine Chinese citizens pleaded guilty to smuggling fentanyl to the U.S.

A jug of used needles to exchange in Camden, N.J., on Oct. 29, 2015.
Mel Evans / Associated Press

A new study blames the opioid epidemic for high rates of Hepatitis C in Ohio’s Appalachia region. Ohio University researchers led a team of health professionals to examine the spread of the disease.

Hamilton County Justice Center
Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The Hamilton County Justice Center is trying something new to reduce illegal drug trade within the jail: Inmates will soon be given flip-flops rather than shoes.

Yost Not Ready To Join National Opioid Settlement

Oct 22, 2019
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

A group of state attorneys general is pushing officials from other state and local governments to accept a $48 billion deal to settle all the opioid-related lawsuits against two drugmakers and the three biggest distributors.

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