opioid epidemic | WOSU Radio

opioid epidemic

For the first time in U.S. history, a leading cause of deaths — vehicle crashes — has been surpassed in likelihood by opioid overdoses, according to a new report on preventable deaths from the National Safety Council.

Americans now have a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, according to the council's analysis of 2017 data on accidental death. The probability of dying in a motor vehicle crash is 1 in 103.

Ohio Governor John Kasich speaks during the Ohio State of the State address in the Fritsche Theater at Otterbein University in Westerville, Tuesday, March 6, 2018.
Paul Vernon / Associated Press

Gov. John Kasich is celebrating a $500,000 donation from Pfizer as a major boost to the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio.

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

Governor-elect Mike DeWine has announced more selections for his Cabinet as he prepares to take office next week. For observers of the Ohio legislature, some of his choices might be familiar faces.

Mike DeWine
Jay LaPrete / AP

Several drug manufacturers targeted in lawsuits over the opioid epidemic have asked a federal judge in Cleveland to sanction Ohio's attorney general and governor-elect, along with two other lawyers, for statements they made in recent television interviews.

Opioid-Makers Face Wave of Lawsuits in 2019

Dec 31, 2018

The next 12 months might just redefine the way America thinks about and responds to the opioid epidemic that now claims more than 40,000 lives each year. The nation's biggest drugmakers and distributors face a wave of civil lawsuits that could total tens of billions of dollars in damages.

In September 2016, the town of East Liverpool, Ohio, captured national attention when a photo of a local couple's overdose went viral. It showed a woman and her boyfriend sprawled comatose in the front seats of a car, while the woman's 4-year-old grandson sat in the back. The image was originally posted by the local police department. Overnight, East Liverpool, a town of just over 11,000 people, became the face of the opioid crisis enveloping parts of the country.

Pixabay

As the opioid crisis envelops more Ohio families, more children are finding themselves in the hands of a court-appointed advocate. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Franklin County, a non-profit organization, works to give a voice to children struggling with abuse and neglect.

Fentanyl is now the drug most frequently involved in overdose deaths in the U.S., according to a National Vital Statistics System report published Wednesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report sheds a bright light on the changing nature of America's drug landscape — and the devastating number of overdose deaths that have occurred in the U.S. in recent years.

Is America Ready For Prescription Heroin?

Dec 6, 2018

The U.S. drug crisis does not appear to be letting up. The nation experienced a shattering 47,000 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2017.

Driving the surge are potent, cheap synthetics like fentanyl that have spread into the illicit drug supply. In response, communities have been trying a range of interventions, from increasing the availability of the antidote naloxone to upping treatment resources.

When Maddy Nadeau was a toddler, her mother wasn't able to care for her. "I remember Mom was always locking herself in her room and she didn't take care of me. My mom just wasn't around at the time," she says.

Every day, her older sister Devon came home from elementary school and made sure Maddy had something to eat.

"Devon would come home from school and fix them cold hot dogs or a bowl of cereal — very simple items that both of them could eat," says Sarah Nadeau, who fostered the girls and later adopted them.

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

Rates of drug overdose deaths continue to increase according to a new report from the CDC. Overdose deaths rose nearly 10 percent in 2017.

Florida is suing pharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS over their role in what the state calls "unconscionable efforts to increase the demand and supply of opioids into Florida."

State Attorney General Pam Bondi's office announced Friday that it had added the two companies to a lawsuit filed in May against opioid distributors and manufacturers — including OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma, Percocet-maker Endo Pharmaceuticals and Teva Pharmaceutical, which is one of the world's largest generic-drug manufacturers.

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

Overdose deaths are down in Summit County since a public health emergency was declared one year ago.

Ohio Statehouse Legislative Chamber
Bob Hall / Flickr

This week, Ohio lawmakers are returning for a lame-duck session, with hearings set on a so-called "right to work" bill and a Republican-backed bill on free speech on college campuses.

Ohio's bio science organization, Bio Ohio, will showcase technology Wednesday that area researchers are developing to combat the opioid crisis.

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