opioid crisis

Courtesy of Orange TV

Central Florida leaders are looking to expand the reach of a partnership to combat opioid addiction. ‘Project Opioid’ brings together the faith and business communities, law enforcement and local government leaders. 

Florida's 'Pill Mills' Were A Gateway To The Opioid Crisis

Jul 22, 2019

Florida survives on tourism, but a decade ago thousands of visitors made frequent trips to the state not to visit its theme parks or beaches. Instead, they came for cheap and easy prescription painkillers sold at unscrupulous walk-in clinics.

Good news came out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wednesday: Preliminary data shows reported drug overdoses declined 4.2% in 2018, after rising precipitously for decades.

Updated at 10:44 p.m. ET

For the first time, a federal court in Ohio is releasing a trove of data that offers far more detail about the size and scope of the nation's opioid epidemic — and about the role played by drug companies and pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Johnson & Johnson that profited from the rapid growth of prescription opioid sales.

In the health care industry, there are few brands more well known than Johnson & Johnson. The maker of consumer staples ranging from Band-Aids to baby shampoo has faced a number of controversies in its 133-year history. Now it is contesting charges that it contributed to the nation's opioid epidemic.

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

A jury in Boston has found onetime billionaire and drug company executive John Kapoor and his four co-defendants guilty of a racketeering conspiracy. The verdict came Wednesday after 15 days of deliberation.

A major pharmaceutical distribution company and two of its former executives are facing criminal charges for their roles in advancing the nation's opioid crisis and profiting from it.

The opioid crisis is affecting communities of all sizes across the country. In one example, Haines City has equipped all officers in its police department with a life-saving drug that combats opioid overdoses.

Meth Is Back And Hospitalizations Surge

Nov 26, 2018
Flickr Creative Commons

The number of people hospitalized because of amphetamine use is skyrocketing in the United States, but the resurgence of the drug largely has been overshadowed by the nation’s intense focus on opioids.

In a windowless classroom at the John J. Moran medium-security prison in Cranston, R.I., three men sit around a table to share how and when they began using opioids.

For Josh, now 39, it was when he was just 13 years old. "I got grounded for a week in my house, so I grabbed a bundle of heroin and just sat inside and sniffed it all week."

"I started using heroin at 19," says Ray, now 23. "I was shooting it. It was with a group of friends that I was working with, doing roof work."

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

The nation's second-largest drugstore chain says Florida's lawsuit alleging that it helped fuel the state's opioid crisis "is without merit."

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a potent new opioid painkiller, despite warnings from physician critics who say the drug will contribute to the addiction epidemic.

The sharp rise in opioid abuse and fatal overdoses has overshadowed another mounting drug problem: Methamphetamine use is rising across the United States.

"Usage of methamphetamine nationally is at an all-time high," says Erik Smith, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's Kansas City office.

"It is back with a vengeance." he says. "And the reasons for that are twofold." The drug's now stronger, and cheaper, than it used to be.

Trump Signs Bipartisan Measure To Confront Opioid Crisis

Oct 25, 2018
Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

President Donald Trump pledged on Wednesday to put an "extremely big dent" in the scourge of drug addiction in America as he signed legislation intended to help tackle the opioid crisis, the deadliest epidemic of overdoses in the country's history.

Updated at 4:37 p.m. ET

The American opioid crisis is far from over, but early data indicate the number of deaths are beginning to level off, according to Alex Azar, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, citing "encouraging" results in overdose trends.

In a speech on Tuesday at a Milken Institute health summit, Azar walked through statistics suggesting deaths were plateauing and he highlighted efforts he says may be turning the tide in the drug epidemic.

Analysis: 'Obamacare' Shapes Opioid Grant Spending

Oct 22, 2018
Pharmacy Technician amongst two shelves of prescription pills.
Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

With Republicans and Democrats joining forces again in a bipartisan effort to target the U.S. opioid crisis, an Associated Press analysis of the first wave of emergency money from Congress finds that states are taking very different approaches to spending it.

Emergency responders providing care to a patient in the back of an ambulance.
Peter Haden/WLRN

Hillsborough commissioners on Wednesday voted to spend $13.7 million dollars over the next year to combat opioid addiction.

Past the barricades, mounds of personal belongings mixed with trash and dirty mattresses where vagrants lay with needles still clutched by limp hands, Shatara Mackey walks with her 7-year-old son to Phillis Wheatley Elementary.

Northwest Second Avenue under the Dolphin/SR 836 overpass is a better route than the next block over, she says.

“It’s just got worse,” said Mackey, 31. “You can see them using and everything down there.”

Paramedics in Sarasota County are turning away from opioids to treat patients in pain.

Instead, they will primarily use nitrous oxide also known as laughing gas.

Use Of Drug Database Increases Amid Opioid Fight

Sep 21, 2018
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One of Florida’s main weapons to thwart “doctor shopping” has been expanding substantially after the passage of a tough new law aimed at addressing the continuing opioid crisis.

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Figures from a U.S. government survey released Friday show some progress in the fight against the ongoing opioid addiction crisis with fewer people in 2017 using heroin for the first time compared to the previous year.

As a pilot program to intervene in opioid overdoses in Jacksonville reports continued success, a plan to create a permanent epidemic panel and city treatment trust fund is taking sharper shape.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

Florida was one of several states last year to declare a state of emergency because of opioid abuse. But despite efforts by state and federal officials, some local teens don't feel like enough is being done to help students.

Flickr Creative Commons

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.

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.

Prescription drugs on a shelf
Daylina Miller/WUSF

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.

Pharmacy Technician amongst two shelves of prescription pills.
Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

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

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