opioid epidemic | WOSU Radio

opioid epidemic

White drug users addicted to heroin, fentanyl and other opioids have had near exclusive access to buprenorphine, a drug that curbs the craving for opioids and reduces the chance of a fatal overdose. That's according to a study out Wednesday from the University of Michigan.

This week, a federal appeals court addressed the right to treatment for an inmate who suffers from opioid addiction, a move that legal advocates say could have wide repercussions.

Teens from around the state gathered in Columbus for the We Are The Majority rally against drug use.
Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

Thousands of teenagers from around the state gathered in Columbus for a rally against drug use as part of the "We Are The Majority" rally.

A new poll by NPR and Ipsos finds a third of Americans have been touched directly by the deadly opioid epidemic that still kills more than 100 people every day. "One in three have been personally affected in some way, either by knowing someone who has overdosed or by knowing someone with an opioid addiction," said Mallory Newall, lead Ipsos researcher on the survey.

Faced with a flood of addicted inmates and challenged by lawsuits, America's county jails are struggling to adjust to an opioid health crisis that has turned many of the jails into their area's largest drug treatment centers.

In an effort to get a handle on the problem, more jails are adding some form of medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, to help inmates safely detox from opioids and stay clean behind bars and after release.

A major pharmaceutical distribution company and two of its former executives are facing criminal charges for their roles in advancing the nation's opioid crisis and profiting from it.

Federal officials are charging 60 defendants across five states in what they're calling the largest opioid prescriber takedown ever. These are the first arrests announced since an opioid strike force began late last year.

Updated at 11:25 a.m. ET

Federal prosecutors are charging 60 doctors, pharmacists, medical professionals and others in connection with alleged opioid pushing and health care fraud, the Justice Department said Wednesday.

The charges came less than four months after the Justice Department dispatched experienced fraud prosecutors across hard-hit regions in Appalachia.

A new report out of the Ohio Substance Abuse Monitoring (OSAM) Network finds that while opioid prescriptions are falling throughout Ohio, methamphetamine remains widely available in the state. In the Cleveland area, powdered cocaine and meth are becoming more available, and the number of clients entering treatment for meth use increased.

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

Despite the expanded availability of an overdose antidote, Ohio still has one of the highest rates of opioid overdose deaths in the country.

But what happens to someone after they overdose and survive? A new research project from Miami University seeks to answer just that question.

J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and a bipartisan group of Senators want sanctions on the table to ensure the China adequately regulates fentanyl. The Chinese government agreed earlier this week to classify fentanyl and its variants as controlled substances.

China has announced that all variants of fentanyl will be treated as controlled substances, after Washington urged Beijing to stop fueling the opioid epidemic in the United States.

Authorities in China already regulate 25 variants of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid linked to thousands of drug overdose deaths in the U.S. But some manufacturers in China, seeking to evade controls, have introduced slight changes to the molecular structure of their drugs, giving them the legal loophole to manufacture and export before the government can assess the products for safety and medical use.

OxyContin pills are arranged for a photo at a pharmacy in Montpelier, Vermont.
Toby Talbot / AP

As the nation's opioid crisis has devastated thousands of families, it also has taken a crippling financial toll on cities, small towns and counties in Ohio and around the country.

fentanyl
Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) recently re-introduced the POWER Act to equip law enforcement officials with screening devices to detect fentanyl.

A nationwide report released Tuesday looks at how federal dollars are being spent on the opioid epidemic. The study from the Bipartisan Policy Center drills down on five states in particular, including Ohio, where federal spending increased from $10 per person in 2017 to $19 last year.

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