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 Al Landis

A community group in southeast Tuscarawas County is trying to get the attention of elected officials, police and fellow citizens to combat opioid abuse.

Dennison and Uhrichsville – known as the Twin Cities – have a combined population of about 8,000 people. One-hundred of them were at Thornwood Park yesterday as part of the group “Cleaning Up the 922” -- named for the area’s telephone exchange. They were discussing ways to address a growing opioid problem.

Cleveland State official seal

Cleveland State University has created a specialized research center to search for solutions to the opioid crisis.

The Center for Behavioral Health Sciences focuses on addiction science, policy research, education and links to mental illness. The center will work with local partners, like Saint Vincent Charity Medical Center.

photo of BCI crime lab

Ohio’s opioid crisis is causing problems for the state’s crime lab. The Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which processes chemical evidence for cases throughout Ohio, is having a hard time getting everything done on a timely basis. So the lab has come up with a solution.

BCI Superintendent Tom Stickrath says the crime lab is not only handling more cases because of the opioid crisis, it’s also handling more complicated cases.

photo of Francine Parr, Emelia Sherin, Sarah Demetruk

People struggling with addiction, their loved ones and the drug that’s destroying their lives are among the characters in a new play opening at the Akron Civic Theater tonight.

“(In)Dependent: The Heroin Project” is a gritty look at how opioid addiction can grab people, destroy relationships and test the human spirit.

photo of Stark County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery logo

Stark County will be able to treat nearly a thousand more patients for opioid addiction after receiving a federal grant.

The $615,000will be used to expand access to opioid-recovery drugs such as suboxone and methdone  in Canton, Massillon and Alliance. The money will also allow the county to work with local hospitals to establish peer recovery programs.

John Aller is the executive director of Stark County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery board.