opioid epidemic | WAMC

opioid epidemic

Seized bags of heroin and fentanyl in Ulster County
Courtesy of the Ulster County Sheriff's Office

The Ulster County executive has declared a public health emergency due to recent spikes in fentanyl-related deaths. The declaration came the day before county officials arrested a Kingston man on narcotics charges and recovered 10,000 bags of fentanyl and heroin.

Josh Landes / WAMC

Stephen Murray has worked as a first responder in Berkshire County for the past seven years. Today, he’s a paramedic supervisor at Northern Berkshire EMS, which covers 265 square miles of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont. A bill introduced in 2019 calling for supervised consumption sites is working its way through the the Massachusetts statehouse with a reporting date now set for April 15th. Back in western Massachusetts, Murray is drawing on his experiences both as a professional on the front lines of the opioid epidemic and his own past struggles with addiction to endorse the bill as a valuable new approach to confronting the disease. He sat down with WAMC to explain why he believes that the model already used in places like Portugal and Canada could save lives in Berkshire County.

Dutchess County Exec's Address Focuses On 'Home'

Feb 21, 2020
Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro delivering his State of the County address, Feb. 20, 2020
Courtesy of the Office of Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro

Republican Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro delivered his state-of-the-county address Thursday. He proposed a number of initiatives across several areas, with a theme of “Home.”

Number Of Opioid Deaths Decreases In Ulster County

Feb 19, 2020

Opioid overdose deaths are down in a county that had the second highest per-capita rate of opioid fatalities of any county in New York in 2018.

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.

Ulster County DA Candidates Lay Out Their Stances

Oct 25, 2019
The Statue Of Justice
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Among the issues they disagree about, the candidates for Ulster County district attorney have different visions for carrying out criminal justice reform.

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

There is a New York state roundtable discussion and public hearing Thursday on tackling the opioid epidemic. And it’s being held in Putnam County.

Senator Patrick Leahy (left) and Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine announce grant to strengthen opioid prevention programs
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy was at the Burlington offices of the state Health Department Tuesday morning to announce a federal grant to help the state respond to opioid overdoses and strengthen prevention efforts.

Westchester County lawmakers are working to advance legislation to help law enforcement fight crime. The bill seeks to better monitor precious metals and gems sold at pawn shops.

Letitia James
Facebook: New York State Attorney General

New York Attorney General Letitia James has filed what the Democrat calls the country’s most extensive lawsuit against pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors for their alleged role in the opioid epidemic.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan announces lawsuit against drug distributors
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Last September, Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan stood in front of the Chittenden County Superior Court to announce that the state was suing Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxycontin and other opioids. Today, he was back to announce new lawsuits against two drug distributors.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger hosts an Opioid Town Hall in Contois Auditorium
MiroBTV/Facebook / Burlington Mayor's office

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger hosted an opioid Town Hall this week, bringing in national and regional experts to discuss the epidemic and update residents on the city’s efforts to stem it.

Albany County Executive Dan McCoy
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The Albany County Executive is targeting opioid distributors.

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

Four upstate New York cities are suing the manufacturers and distributors of opioid painkillers.

Congressman Paul Tonko
Congressman Paul Tonko

The opioid epidemic has crossed political boundaries.

In today’s Congressional Corner, New York Representative Paul Tonko, a Democrat from the 20th district, wraps up his conversation with WAMC’s Alan Chartock.

WAMC, Allison Dunne

Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney was in Orange County, New York Monday to announce legislation to combat online opioid sales. He spoke at the Middletown Police Department, alongside a woman whose son died from an overdose two years ago.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

The Center for Law and Justice says some Albany residents are angry about a recent announcement that state troopers will help patrol neighborhoods in the city.

Oxycodone pills
Be.Futureproof/Flickr

The fight against the opioid epidemic has seen a variety of approaches, including changes to law enforcement policies and an increased focus on prevention. Now, a few counties in the Hudson Valley have filed suit against pharmaceutical companies. Dutchess County is the latest to allege the companies have used deceptive practices, leading to the crisis. And at least one other Hudson Valley county is considering filing suit.