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

Local Community Meeting Allows For Open Discussion on Opioids

Oct 30, 2017

About 50 people gathered last week in a cozy community hall in Struthers, a once thriving steel town along the Mahoning River outside of Youngstown.

A simulated fire in the electric fireplace gave off a warm glow on one of the first chilly nights of the season. Sandwiches were on a long table and soft drinks in tubs on the floor.

Photo of Armond Budish
Matt Richmond / Ideastream

Cuyahoga County is suing the manufacturers and distributors of addictive opioidss, adding to a growing list of local governments across Ohio to do so.

“If we’re waiting for help from Washington, it is not coming,” says Mike O'Malley.

Lori Criss
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU public radio

Ohioans dealing with the addiction crisis had been hoping President Trump’s emergency declaration would direct new money to fight the opioid epidemic. As WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports, new funding isn’t there. But redirecting job-training money is.

Ohio's overdose rates
OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY

Local communities who were hoping for new money in President Trump’s public health emergency declaration to fight the addiction crisis were disappointed. But as WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports, they see promise in some of the initiatives.

The only new funding promised in President Trump’s announcement is from the Public Health Emergency Fund – which the Washington Post says now has $57,000 in it. But the plan does allow those who can’t find jobs because of addiction to get Dislocated Worker retraining grants that now go to people who are laid off.

Narcan kit
Amanda Rabinowitz / WKSU

Akron’s Quick Response Team has become the first in Summit County to offer residents naloxone kits and training on how to use them to counter the effects of an opioid overdose.

Joseph Natko, the district chief of the Akron Fire Department, says the effort is part of a follow-up strategy with people who recently overdosed.

Pages