Opioids: Turning the Tide in the Crisis

Credit Layne Gerbig / WKSU

Day after day, week after week, the headlines in Northeast Ohio and across much of the country contain news of tragic loss:  lives lost to opioids. It’s a problem that knows no bounds:  geography, race, gender, level of education or income.

The problem took on new urgency this summer as the powerful elephant sedative, Carfentanil, began hitting the streets.  First responders armed with their only weapon, the overdose antidote Naloxone, have struggled to keep up with what’s become an overwhelming problem. It’s an issue that’s straining public and social resources.  What has become clear is that business as usual is not going to fix the problem.

WKSU news has been covering the unfolding crisis. Tuesdays during Morning Edition, the WKSU news team digs even deeper.  WKSU reporters will examine what’s led us here and what might be done to turn the tide.  

Support for Opioids: Turning the Tide in the Crisis comes from Wayne Savings Community Bank, Kent State University Office of Continuing and Distance Education, Hometown Grocery Delivery, Mercy Medical Center, AxessPointe Community Health Center, Community Support Services, Inc., Medina County District Library and Hudson Community First.

Ways to Connect

photo of audience at opioid conference
KAREN KASLER / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

State stats show overdoses from opioids – including heroin and fentanyl – are killing at least nine people a day. And that figure is likely to rise by the time new numbers are released this summer.  The crisis brought advocates to Columbus for a daylong conference on how local groups and communities can fight it.

Dan Konik

Drug addiction counselers are speaking out against a bill that would send an ex-convict to jail if they fail a drug test. They say this proposal uses the judicial system to solve a health-care crisis.

Lori Criss is with the Ohio Council of Behavioral Health and Family Service Providers, which advocates for behavioral health services. She says the bill that proposes 30 days in jail when someone on probation tests positive for heroin is a step in the wrong direction. 

View from the offices of Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services
Tim Rudell / WKSU

Ohio is dramatically expanding the number of caregivers who can prescribe Suboxone and other drugs for medication-assisted treatment of addiction.  The effort is part of a broader strategy to address the opioid epidemic. Not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.

Photo of opioids
ShutterShock / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Dozens of lawsuits filed by cities, counties and states across the country against opioid manufacturers and distributors will be consolidated in an Ohio court.

A panel of federal judges decided Tuesday that 64 lawsuits filed in seven states, including Ohio, will have their cases consolidated and pretrial motions will be heard by U.S. District Judge Dan Polster in Cleveland.

Dr. Mark Hurst, Ohio Department of Health
Tim Rudell / WKSU

The deadline to submit new-tech ideas to the state of Ohio to fight the opioid crisis is growing near.

The challenge includes $8 million in awards and grants. It kicked-off Oct. 18th, with proposals to be in no later than Dec. 15th. 

Dr. Mark Hurst is medical director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.  He says hundreds of submissions are already in and the best of those, and of the hundreds more that are expected, will receive awards.

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