opioid addiction

Mothers Who Lost Children To Addiction Unite To Change Laws

Nov 20, 2015

Lafayette Square across from the White House is a popular spot for people with a political bone to pick. Next to the persistent "ban nuclear weapons" sign, protesters come here to picket in front of the president's home. On Wednesday, there's a group of women gathered behind a banner scrawled with messages, among them: "Remembering those who lost their lives to the war on drugs." "Keeping faith, hope, and love in our hearts."

In Tennessee, Giving Birth To A Drug-Dependent Baby Can Be A Crime

Nov 18, 2015

In the United States, a baby is born dependent on opiates every 30 minutes. In Tennessee, the rate is three times the national average.

The drug withdrawal in newborns is called neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, which can occur when women take opiates during their pregnancies.

To Prevent Addiction In Adults, Help Teens Learn How To Cope

Nov 12, 2015

Addiction is a pediatric disease," says Dr. John Knight, founder and director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at Boston Children's Hospital. "When adults entering addiction treatment are asked when they first began drinking or using drugs, the answer is almost always the same: They started when they were young — teenagers," said Knight.

Should Methadone Be Retired As A Treatment For Pain?

Nov 9, 2015
neeel via Flickr

More than 16,000 Americans die each year from prescription opioid overdoses, with a disproportionate number of these deaths attributed to methadone. Now, the federal government is calling on states to consider removing methadone from the list of preferred drugs used as pain relievers for Medicaid patients. This proposal is part of a larger White House initiative to stop the nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic.

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A stretch of Massachusetts Avenue called the, "Methadone Mile," is the epicenter of the opioid epidemic in Boston. WBUR's CommonHealth reports a nonprofit there is planning to try something new to prevent overdose deaths.

Police Turn To Pricey Rehab Drug For Offenders

Nov 4, 2015
Miles Bryan

Cameron Largent, 26,  lives with his mother in a big suburban house in Rock Springs, Wyoming. His favorite spot at home is the basement couch, where he’s set up to play the fantasy video game World of Warcraft. 

“I’m a priest,” he said. “So my job is to run around and heal people. [My character] is the highest level you can get: level 100.”

Largent has had a lot of time to level up recently: he has been sober for six months. It’s the longest he has gone without drinking for years.

A suspected case of measles. A rabid fox on the loose. A recall of a dye used in tattoos. A drug epidemic that's claiming hundreds of lives.

Those are just a few of the problems that Dr. Leana Wen confronts in a typical week as the Baltimore City Health Commissioner. While they all have to be dealt with, it's clear that heroin is among Wen's gravest concerns. Right now, she's focused on stopping overdoses and saving lives.

Rebecca Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

In August, the Pulaski County, Missouri, police captain Johnny Burgess ran his team through a new kind of training exercise. Divided into pairs, each officer practiced plunging a nasal atomizer into the nostril of the other. Burgess cautioned them not to push too hard: “You’re not digging for gold.”  

They were learning to dose a potential victim with intranasal naloxone, or Narcan, a drug that can instantly reverse an opioid overdose. The training was the culmination of months of effort by the Pulaski County Sheriff’s department to overcome logistical hurdles and outfit its officers with the overdose antidote.

Pain Patients Say They Can’t Get Medicine After Crackdown On Illegal Rx Drug Trade

Aug 5, 2015
Lesley Young testified that she has driven 100 miles to try to find a pharmacy that would fill painkiller prescriptions for her husband Chris.
Jessica Palombo / KHN

The accident happened 10 years ago when Chris Young was 35. He owned a salvage yard in Maui, Hawaii, and his employee had hoisted a junker on a machine called an excavator when the hydraulics gave out. The car fell on him from above his head, smashing his spine.

“He was crushed accordion-style,” says his wife Lesley.

The accident left Young with a condition known as “partial paraplegia.” He can’t walk and he needs a wheelchair, but he does have some sensation in his legs. Unfortunately for Young, that sensation is often excruciating pain.


Naloxone manufactured by Amphastar comes with a "kit" that allows it to be easily sprayed into the nostril during an overdose.
Governor Tom Wolf (D-Penn) via flickr/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

In response to the rising rate of heroin overdose deaths, police in communities across the country are saving lives with naloxone (or Narcan), an easily-administered drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose in a few minutes. Thirty-one states have passed laws expanding access to the drug since 2012.