Opioids

Janet Kavanaugh was 79 years old and near death when she was transferred from an assisted care facility to Mount Carmel West hospital in Columbus. Her family requested that lifesaving measures be stopped, and that Kavanaugh be comfortable for her remaining time.

For the first time in U.S. history, a leading cause of deaths — vehicle crashes — has been surpassed in likelihood by opioid overdoses, according to a new report on preventable deaths from the National Safety Council.

Americans now have a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, according to the council's analysis of 2017 data on accidental death. The probability of dying in a motor vehicle crash is 1 in 103.

Opioid-Makers Face Wave of Lawsuits in 2019

Dec 31, 2018

The next 12 months might just redefine the way America thinks about and responds to the opioid epidemic that now claims more than 40,000 lives each year. The nation's biggest drugmakers and distributors face a wave of civil lawsuits that could total tens of billions of dollars in damages.

When people seek help at a drug treatment center for an opioid addiction, concerns about having contracted hepatitis C are generally low on their list.

They've often reached a crisis point in their lives, says Marie Sutton, the CEO of Imagine Hope, a consulting group that provides staff training and technical assistance to facilitate testing for the liver-damaging virus at more than 30 drug treatment centers in Georgia.

In September 2016, the town of East Liverpool, Ohio, captured national attention when a photo of a local couple's overdose went viral. It showed a woman and her boyfriend sprawled comatose in the front seats of a car, while the woman's 4-year-old grandson sat in the back. The image was originally posted by the local police department. Overnight, East Liverpool, a town of just over 11,000 people, became the face of the opioid crisis enveloping parts of the country.

Fentanyl is now the drug most frequently involved in overdose deaths in the U.S., according to a National Vital Statistics System report published Wednesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report sheds a bright light on the changing nature of America's drug landscape — and the devastating number of overdose deaths that have occurred in the U.S. in recent years.

John Minchillo / AP Photo

Fort Mitchell will soon be home to a new initiative targeting the nation's opioid epidemic.

Rates of drug overdose deaths continue to increase according to a new report from the CDC. Overdose deaths rose nearly 10 percent in 2017.

Attorney General Andy Beshear has filed a lawsuit against another painkiller manufacturer, saying that the company fueled Kentucky’s drug epidemic through aggressive marketing and fraud.

Last year, Ohio changed its rules for prescribing opioids, restricting amounts of, and circumstances under which, doctors can prescribe those narcotics. The new rules have an exemption for people who are in hospice type care for diseases like cancer. But many patients who suffer from chronic pain say the new rules are leaving them without pain relief, resulting in unintended consequences.

Gov. John Kasich says he’ll do what many of his fellow Republicans say they’ll do this fall when it comes to the statewide ballot issue that would change criminal sentencing to prefer treatment over prison time. 

Montgomery County health officials say the number of drug overdoses is rising.

Montgomery is among seven counties across Ohio that are seeing a spike in recent drug-related emergency room visits and overdoses this summer.

Kentucky's Attorney General announced on Thursday that the state is suing the pharmacy chain Walgreens for allegedly exacerbating the "man-made" opioid crisis, by playing a dual role in in the supply chain as both the distributor and dispenser.

The lawsuit also asserts the company willfully ignored its own safeguard systems that are designed to protect consumers and monitor their drug consumption.

Provided / Miami University

A new website enables Butler County residents to track overdose trends from 2013 to 2017.

A Dayton artist is working on a new way to memorialize victims of the nation’s devastating opioid epidemic.

The project would create a memorial wall made of hand-cut mosaic tiles, called the  “Wall of Perseverance.”

The memorial is the brainchild of mosaic artist Jes McMillan, founder of the Mosaic Institute of Greater Dayton

President Donald Trump has called the opioid crisis a national health emergency, ravaging Appalachian states like Kentucky, West Virginia, and Ohio.  That’s helped put the spotlight on the role doctors play in prescribing powerful pain relievers that sometimes lead to addiction and overdose deaths. 

A former Warren County physician will get a stinging reminder on Monday that his medical career is over, and that his freedom is being taken away.  Fred Gott will be sentenced in federal court for over-prescribing powerful painkillers, including Fentanyl and Methadone.  The case against the 66-year-old heart doctor started to build in 2012.


Wikimedia Commons

Random drug tests are routine for private schools but few area public schools are doing it, even with the opioid crisis. Among the reasons they give for skipping testing include: it's not the best way to partner with families, there's a lack of scientific data on effectiveness, and the issue just hasn't come up.

Ohio Society of Interventional Pain Physicians

Medical professionals who help people dealing with chronic pain are gathering in Cincinnati this weekend. It will be the first meeting of the Ohio Society of Interventional Pain Physicians.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The city of Cincinnati wants three major drug distributors to pay for the opioid epidemic.

The city is the latest to file suit against AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, and McKesson Corporation. A federal lawsuit alleges the companies let an epidemic run unchecked. A release from the city says those three companies account for 80 percent of the market for prescription opioids.

SPR Therapeutics

More than a year ago, 80-year old Helen Douglass described her shoulder and forearm pain following a stroke as nine out of 10. Last summer the Cleveland-area resident participated in a clinical trial for SPRINT, a small wearable stimulator patch and has no pain now.

Her story is one of many SPR Therapeutics points to and the Ohio company is now marketing the FDA approved portable device that delivers neuro-stimulation to the nerve causing the pain. CEO Maria Bennett says SPRINT is somewhere between TENS and a fully implantable stimulation device.

Some medical scientists believe the patch could become a substitute for opioid abuse. 

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