opioid epidemic

Credit: WFIU/WTIU

Over the last six years, enough opioids were shipped to the state of Missouri to give every resident 260 pills.

The finding comes from a report released Thursday by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. It's the latest in a series of investigations by the senator into the role of drugmakers, distributors and other industry players in fueling the opioid epidemic.

National Judicial Drug Task Force Meets In Indy

Jun 5, 2018
Brandon Smith/IPB News

Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush says judicial leaders from around the country feel a sense of urgency as they develop an infrastructure for court systems to address the nation’s opioid crisis.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush is the co-chair of the National Judicial Opioid Task Force, which formed last year. It met for the third time this week in Indianapolis.

Naloxone Manufacturer Issues Recall

Jun 5, 2018
Lauren Chapman/Indiana Public Broadcasting

Naloxone manufacturer Hospira issued a voluntary recall of its single-use cartridge syringe system for the opioid overdose antidote.

The company says it found loose or embedded particulate matter on the syringe plunger. The recall is on lot numbers 7260LL and 76510LL.

If someone is exposed to the particulate, Hospira says there is a low chance of experiencing adverse health effects including allergic reactions and pulmonary dysfunction.

State and health leaders met at an Indianapolis hospital Monday to announce a new project to help pregnant Hoosier mothers who are addicted to opioids, the effort expands a pilot to reduce neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS.

NAS happens when a baby is exposed to drugs in the womb.  Providers at Community East Hospital addressed this issue in response to the rise in cases that they were seeing says OBGYN Anthony Sanders. 

Sheila Dhand treats a lot of people who might not step foot in a health clinic or hospital — until an emergency.

"People don't want to show just anybody their wound," Dhand says. "A lot of time when talking about wounds, we're talking about drug use. And those things are so taboo."

Jake Harper/ Side Effects Public Media

New research finds that fentanyl is far more common than heroin in overdose deaths in Indianapolis and that blacks are particularly affected.

In 2017, nearly half of the people who died from an overdose in Marion County, where Indianapolis is located, had fentanyl in their system. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times stronger than morphine.

Jake Harper / Side Effects

In a refrigerator in the coroner’s office in Marion County, Indiana, rows of vials await testing. They contain blood, urine and vitreous, the fluid collected from inside a human eye. In overdose cases, the fluids may contain clues for investigators. 


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.

First, Do No Harm

Christine Herman

Aric Hartvig / WFYI

Syringe exchanges are a controversial concept. Even when they're successful at containing disease, they can be difficult to sell to the public. In Madison County, Indiana, residents' ethical concerns shut down a program, which was put in place to curb rates of hepatitis C.

For Addicted Doctors, Confidential Treatment That Works

Nov 6, 2017
The Pew Charitable Trusts

WARRIOR, Ala. — The day Dr. Arthur Green (not his real name) checked into his rustic cabin here at Bradford Health Services, he said he doubted he could beat his decadeslong struggle with alcohol and find joy again in treating patients. Three weeks later, he said, he was convinced otherwise.

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