opioid crisis

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News organizations are pushing for the public release of data detailing the distribution of prescription opioids throughout the U.S., information that could show how drug manufacturers and distributors contributed to the nation's addiction and overdose crisis.

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Most new laws approved during Florida's recent legislative session took effect Sunday with the start of the state's fiscal year.

The new statutes have an effect on Floridians of all ages, from bullying in schools to providing further protections against seniors.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

The House has overwhelmingly approved legislation designed to give health care providers more tools to stem an opioid crisis that is killing more than 115 people in the United States daily.

For most of her childhood, growing up in southeastern Pennsylvania, Kelly Zimmerman felt alone and anxious.

She despaired when her mother was depressed or working late shifts; when her parents fought nonstop; when her friends wanted to come over, and she felt too ashamed to let them see her home's buckling floor, the lack of running water.

Kelly tried to shut out those feelings, and when she was 18, a boyfriend offered her an opioid painkiller — Percocet.

Her anxiety dissolved, at least for a little while.

U.S. regulators have approved the first generic version of an under-the-tongue film for treating opioid addiction.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam announced his campaign plans for public safety with a focus on fighting crime and combatting the opioid epidemic.

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An attorney for the company that makes the prescription opioid painkiller OxyContin says there is an opioid crisis.

Florida is suing drug companies that have steered more than $1 million to politicians over the last 20 years.

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Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced Tuesday that the state has filed a lawsuit against opioid manufacturers and distributors, blaming the companies for creating the crisis which kills about 15 Floridians a day.

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As Florida continues to deal with an opioid crisis, state corrections officials are moving ahead on a plan to cut substance-abuse services to make up a shortfall in health-care funding for the prison system.

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The state’s invalidated process for licensing new methadone clinics is delaying help for opioid addicts in rural communities.

A Jacksonville City Council committee voted Monday in favor of expanding and extending an opioid intervention pilot program called “Project Save Lives” that previously had been scheduled to end soon.

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Facing a rising death toll from drug overdoses, state lawmakers across the country are testing a strategy to boost treatment for opioid addicts: Force drug manufacturers and their distributors to pay for it.

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A Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to life in prison for supplying synthetic opioids to a woman who died in Florida.

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Pointing to an arbitrary process that “ignores substance in favor of blind luck,” an administrative law judge Thursday rejected a state emergency rule drawn up to help license more methadone-treatment centers across Florida.

Pain management physicians had a role in creating the opioid crisis and some of those doctors are now working to solve the problem.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

The workers’ compensation system and the injured workers it serves are not immune from the nation’s opioid crisis, according to the National Council on Compensation Insurance. 

Osceola Sues Drug Companies Over Opioid Epidemic

Apr 24, 2018
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Osceola County is going after pharmaceutical companies. The county filed a lawsuit against several drug companies.

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Florida will get another $27 million dollars this year from the federal government to combat the opioid crisis.

New data show that the number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers filled in the U.S. fell dramatically last year. They showed their biggest drop in 25 years.

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In 2016, the city of Miami saw 641 opioid-related overdoses, a 20 percent increase from the year before. Now, attorneys for the city have filed a lawsuit in Miami-Dade County circuit court alleging that drug manufacturers violated Florida law by aggressively and deceptively marketing opioids as safe. 

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan announced an anti-drug plan Monday to address the growing opioid crisis. According to the Manatee County Republican, the bill will be introduced in the U.S. House later this week.

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Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio’s introduced the Protecting Newborns from Opioid Abuse Act on Thursday. It would set up a new system of collecting information around mothers and babies affected by Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, and sharing it with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

Members of the Florida Board of Pharmacy were told Monday that it shouldn’t take long to alter regulations for pharmacists to comply with a new law aimed at combating the opioid epidemic.

Board of Pharmacy counsel David Flynn told members of the board’s Legislative Committee that, given the board’s experience in past crackdowns on controlled substances, it shouldn’t take long for the Board of Pharmacy to revamp the regulations.

Staying Alive: How To Fight An Opioid Addiction

Apr 2, 2018
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Rule No. 1: Stay alive.

If you or a loved one wants to beat an opioid addiction, first make sure you have a handy supply of naloxone, a medication that can reverse an overdose and save your life.

“Friends and families need to keep naloxone with them,” says Dr. David Kan, an addiction medicine specialist in Walnut Creek who is president of the California Society of Addiction Medicine. “People using opioids should keep it with them, too.”

Our Take A Number series is looking at problems around the world — and people trying to solve them — through the lens of a single number.

In Huntington, W.Va., the number is 10. As in, the rate of babies born with a drug dependency there is 10 times the national average.

It's a number that shows the magnitude of the opioid crisis in this blue collar city. It's also one of the numbers that has prompted two very different people in this community to say, "Enough."

UCF Researchers Look At Opioid Abuse In Black Adults

Mar 30, 2018
Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

A new study out of the University of Central Florida finds opioid abuse equally affects whites and blacks even though it is often portrayed as a white, rural epidemic.

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In a refrigerator in the coroner’s office in Marion County, Ind., rows of vials await testing. They contain blood, urine and vitreous, the fluid collected from inside a human eye.

A pipe was the only sign of drug use found near Chris Bennett's body in November. But it looked like the 32-year-old Taunton, Mass., native had stopped breathing and died of an opioid overdose. Bennett's mother, Liisa, couldn't understand what happened. Then she saw the toxicology report.

"I'm convinced he was smoking cocaine that was laced," she says. "That's what he had in his system, [it] was cocaine and fentanyl."

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