opiods

Florida’s largest health insurance company will stop covering OxyContin, the brand name for prescription opioid, beginning Jan. 1, Miami Herald reported.

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Florida is cracking down on those found in possession of fentanyl.

Winter Haven Police Department

One Florida city plans to train and equip all its officers with a life-saving drug, Naloxone, so they'll be able to help a drug-overdose victim if they are the first on the scene.

The Food and Drug Administration is reconsidering whether doctors who prescribe painkillers like OxyContin should be required to take safety training courses, according to federal documents.

More than two years in, just who has benefited from the Affordable Care Act's exchanges and Medicaid expansion? The New York Times takes a look at the numbers. The opioid crisis has left sickle cell patients understandably frustrated. Suicide rates are up for teen girls.  And, Side Effects' Upstate New York reporter Michelle Faust takes us inside foster kids' health care. 

Amanda Hensley started abusing prescription painkillers when she was just a teenager. For years, she managed to function and hold down jobs. She even quit opioids for a while when she was pregnant with her now 4-year-old son. But she relapsed.

Hensley says she preferred drugs like Percocet and morphine, but opted for heroin when she was short on cash.

By the time she discovered she was pregnant last year, she couldn't quit.

This story is first in our four-part series Treating the Tiniest Opioid Patients, a collaboration produced by NPR's National & Science Desks, local member stations and Kaiser Health News.

As the drug-related death toll rises in the United States, communities are trying to open more treatment beds. But an ongoing labor shortage among drug treatment staff is slowing those efforts.

When Portland resident Doris Keene raised her four children, she walked everywhere and stayed active. But when she turned 59, she says, everything fell apart.

"My leg started bothering me. First it was my knees." She ignored the pain, and thinks now it was her sciatic nerve acting up, all along. "I just tried to deal with it," Keene says.

To The Editor:

I understand Health News Florida did not write the story on pharmacies being allocated narcotics, however, I think a disservice to the citizens of Florida to have it be a lead story.

Naloxone is a prescription medication used to rapidly counter the effects of opioids from powerful prescription pain-killers like morphine and OxyContin to street drugs like Heroin. While the drug’s effects are unpleasant, if administered quickly, it can revive people who’ve overdosed on opiate medications and save their lives. Florida lawmakers will consider a bill in the upcoming session to expand availability of naloxone by allowing physicians to prescribe the drug to friends or loved ones of those taking powerful prescription opioids so it could be quickly administered in the case of an overdose. Supporters of the measure point to the more than 2,000 accidental prescription overdose deaths in 2013. Opponents point to potential legal liability issues and argue the bill could encourage prescription drug abuse. 

Florida’s VA hospitals fared better than other facilities in a report claiming the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs system mishandles narcotic prescriptions, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

The VA Inspector General report found the medical centers routinely violated rules such as urine screening when prescribing the highly addictive drugs to about 450,000 veterans, the Times reports.