opioid crisis | WAMC

opioid crisis

Groups Want NYS To Implement Drug Take Back Act

Sep 3, 2020
medication tablets
wikipedia commons

A coalition of environmental, public health and other groups is calling on the New York state Department of Health to implement a drug take-back law signed two years ago. The groups say the lack of safe disposal options for unwanted or expired pharmaceutical drugs not only contributes to the drug abuse epidemic and accidental poisonings at home, but also to water pollution.

Opioids seized by authorities in the Capital Region.
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

A state assemblyman and the Orange County district attorney are holding a roundtable Tuesday evening about the opioid epidemic.

WAMC's Dr. Alan Chartock discusses reports that Johnson & Johnson has been ordered to pay $572 million to Oklahoma for its role in the state's opioid crisis. 

WAMC, Allison Dunne

Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa is seven months into his job. He recently spoke with WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne about his biggest challenges, including how his department is tackling the opioid crisis.

Chris McGreal is a reporter for the Guardian and former journalist at the BBC. He was the Guardian's correspondent in Johannesburg, Jerusalem and Washington DC, and now writes from across the United States.

The opioid epidemic has been described as "one of the greatest mistakes of modern medicine." But calling it a mistake is a generous rewriting of the history of greed, corruption, and indifference that pushed the US into consuming more than 80 percent of the world's opioid painkillers.

His new book is entitled "American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts." Journeying through lives and communities wrecked by the epidemic, Chris McGreal reveals not only how Big Pharma hooked Americans on powerfully addictive drugs, but the corrupting of medicine and public institutions that let the opioid makers get away with it. The starting point for McGreal's deeply reported investigation is the miners promised that opioid painkillers would restore their wrecked bodies, but who became targets of "drug dealers in white coats."

A few heroic physicians warned of impending disaster. But American Overdose exposes the powerful forces they were up against, including the pharmaceutical industry's coopting of the Food and Drug Administration and Congress in the drive to push painkillers--resulting in the resurgence of heroin cartels in the American heartland. McGreal tells the story, in terms both broad and intimate, of people hit by a catastrophe they never saw coming. Years in the making, its ruinous consequences will stretch years into the future.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan (file)
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont’s Attorney General is suing Purdue Pharma, saying the manufacturer of Oxycontin has driven the opioid addiction crisis. T.J. Donovan says the billion dollar industry must account for misleading marketing.

syringe
ZaldyImg/Flickr

For over a year, officials in Vermont’s most populous county and the state have been considering the possibility of creating safe injection sites as a means to curb the growing opioid crisis.  This week, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote that such plans are not solutions and the Department of Justice is ready to act against communities that create such facilities.  The move is not deterring efforts in Burlington.

syringe
ZaldyImg/Flickr

The Burlington City Council approved a nonbinding resolution this week calling for further study into establishing safe injection sites in the city.

What can Congress do about the opioid crisis?

In today’s Congressional Corner, Connecticut Representative Joe Courtney, a Democrat from the 2nd district, continues his discussion with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

Composite photo Dave Lucas/WAMC & Be.Futureproof/Flickr

The Siena College Research Institute has released the final installment of a four-part poll that takes a comprehensive look at the scope of the opioid crisis in New York. 

A few months ago, Kourtnaye Sturgeon helped save someone's life. She was driving in downtown Indianapolis when she saw people gathered around a car on the side of the road. Sturgeon pulled over and a man told her there was nothing she could do: Two men had overdosed on opioids and appeared to be dead.

"I kind of recall saying, 'No man, I've got Narcan,' " she says, referring to the brand- name version of the opioid overdose antidote, naloxone. "Which sounds so silly, but I'm pretty sure that's what came out."

Oxycodone pills
Be.Futureproof/Flickr

In what’s being called a first-of-its-kind four-part poll, the Siena College Research Institute takes a comprehensive look at the scope of the opioid crisis in New York State.

WikiMedia Commons

Several former U.S. governors will be gathering at the Harvard University School of Public Health to discuss the nation's ongoing opioid addiction crisis.

Don Treeger (The Republican) photo pool

   The highest court in Massachusetts will hear arguments later this year on whether thousands more drug convictions should be thrown out because of scandal at an evidence testing lab in Amherst.

       There was finally some good news this week on the opioid front in Massachusetts. The number of drug overdose deaths fell by 8.3 percent in 2017 compared with the year before.

Vermont Blueprint for Health Hub and Spoke diagram
Vermont Department of Health

Vermont Governor Phil Scott and the state’s Secretary of Human Services were in Washington Tuesday to testify before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health.  Their focus was on the state’s “Hub and Spoke” treatment model that is getting more people into treatment for addiction.

WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

New York Congressman Paul Tonko is hoping to build on a brief conversation with the president this week as part of the ongoing battle against opioids.

President Trump addressing a joint session of Congress in February 2017.
wikipedia.org

President Trump will deliver his first State of the Union address Tuesday night. Some Hudson Valley members of Congress plan to make a statement with their guests. Others have invited family members.

Senator Bernie Sanders holds student meeting on opioids and addiction at Burlington High School
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders held a student town meeting at Burlington High School late last week to discuss the addiction and opioid crisis.

WAMC

     This is National Health Center Week.

mailer bag
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

Some 78 people die each day across the country from prescription opioid-related overdoses and statistics show 4 out of 5 of heroin users started with prescription opioids.  Albany County now has a task force in place to battle the crisis.

Picture of Heroin
Adobe Stock

A New Hampshire training program that teaches police officers and prosecutors how to treat drug overdoses as crime scenes is emerging as a model for other states grappling with the opioid crisis.

Kaushik Narasimhan/Flickr

When Albany County Executive Dan McCoy delivered his sixth State of the County Address last week, he announced the next phase in his fight against the opioid crisis.

From left:  VT Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen, Mayor Miro Weinberger, State's Attorney Sarah George, Dr. Stephen Leffler, Chief Brandon del Pozo
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Burlington, Vermont Mayor Miro Weinberger announced a series of initiatives Thursday aimed at addressing the opioid crisis in the city.

WAMC, Allison Dunne

A state senator from the Hudson Valley says more action is needed to help reverse the trend of climbing death tolls from opioids. He applauds Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recently released plan to combat New York’s heroin and opioid epidemic but says more is needed.

WAMC

   As Massachusetts combats the opioid addiction crisis, peer-to-peer recovery programs are growing and seeking state funding.

WAMC

A new initiative has been announced in western Massachusetts in an effort to reduce drug overdose deaths and the misuse of prescription medications.

WAMC

  Hospital emergency rooms are on the front lines in saving lives during the opioid crisis. Now some ERs in western Massachusetts will be getting an additional resource.

      The death rate from the opioid crisis in Massachusetts continues to rise with a powerful synthetic painkiller playing an increasingly larger role.

  The opioid crisis has worried officials across the Northeast.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Representative Paul Tonko — a Democrat from the 20th district — tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock about a recent forum he hosted in Albany.