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

A Chinese national is expected to arrive in Northeast Ohio this week to face federal charges that he imported and shipped large amounts of fentynal, carfentanil and other synthetic opioids to Ohio and elsewhere.  

Anti-overdose drug
Narcan.com

Stark County is offering Narcan over-dose revival kits to opiate-addicted inmates who are released from the county jail.   

Sheriff George Maier says Stark County’s health department is trying to get the potentially life-saving kits into the hands of high-risk individuals, and the jail is one place where they can be found.

Keith Hochadel
YOUTUBE

Canton-based CommQuest has opened the first medication-assisted treatment clinic in one of the areas of the state hit hardest by the opioid crisis.  Schultze has more.

The clinic opened in the East Liverpool last week. It offers Suboxone -- doses that give addicts enough medication to ease them through withdrawal but not enough to get high.

PAIN MANAGEMENT AND THE OPIOD CRISIS / National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine

A major new study on the opioid epidemic that has swept through Ohio and much of the rest of the country says the painkillers that triggered the crisis likely never should have been prescribed for many chronic pains.  

David Clark directs a Veterans Affairs Pain Clinic in California and is one of the 18 researchers who participated  the study for the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. He says opioids are undeniably beneficial for advanced stages of cancer, severe injuries and for end-of-life treatments:

Narcan Nasal Spray
Narcan Nasal Spray

Akron Public Schools will have Narcan on hand this fall.  Monday, the school board approved equipping the district’s 18 high schools and middle schools with the opioid overdose antidote.

Although there has never been a reported overdose case in an Akron school, in the face of the opioid crisis the school board decided to take preemptive action. 

School spokesman Mark Williamson says having Narcan available is a first step.

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