The opioid addiction crisis is getting worse, and it's often reported on in desperate terms. But to the people working on the front lines of the problem, there are known and proven approaches that can help. This series introduces you to these people and how they're tackling the issue in their communities — with hope, compassion and strength.
In Peoria, Illinois, one pain treatment center is trying to offer patients effective alternatives to opioids. But insurance companies aren’t always willing to cover the treatments they prescribe.
A series of fatal drug overdoses in Chillicothe, Ohio caused local law enforcement to realize more needed to be done for addicted individuals in their city. These officers teamed up with social workers to create an overdose task force. Each week, they return to the sites of overdoses to track down residents struggling with addiction and put them in touch with needed services.
When someone overdoses on opioids, they're usually revived with an antidote, stabilized and sent on their way. But doctors at this emergency department wanted to do more. They began a program to connect people with treatment, starting right after the patient wakes up.
It’s a controversial concept: provide regular drug users with clean syringes for when they shoot up. Even though syringe exchanges have been show to be successful, ethical concerns often shut them down. In one community, a nurse is fighting an uphill battle to bring back a needle exchange to a community she thinks is in danger.
Patients face a lot of hurdles to staying in addiction treatment during pregnancy. The pool of providers qualified and willing to treat pregnant women for addiction is fairly small. But one OBGYN clinic in Indianapolis is trying to fill the gaps where other providers fall short.
When Chad Sabora drives through St. Louis neighborhoods, he knows how to spot people who need Narcan, an anti-overdose drug, the most. He’s had first hand experience recovering from his own opioid addiction before he started the Missouri Network for Opiate Reform and Recovery. Now, his job is to make sure other people living with addiction can get connected to treatment.
Rural communities in the Midwest are experiencing the opioid crisis just like the big cities, but resources are limited in comparison. Mental health experts agree that something more consistent and long-term is needed for recovery. In rural Jay County, Indiana, an overdose tragedy inspired a change in the area. The organization Brianna’s Hope has grown from one small group to 24 chapters in 15 counties across Indiana and Ohio.