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 Fr. Bob Stec, Andy Klemm
KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

Congregations throughout the state heard about the state’s opioid problem over the weekend as part of a push from a church in Northeast Ohio.

Last year, Fr. Bob Stec of St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Brunswick presided over six funerals for opioid victims in less than a month, and early yesterday morning, he learned of another victim – a 30-year-old – among his parishioners at St. Ambrose in Brunswick.

JOHN ALLER
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Ohio is getting $26 million from the federal government to help fight the opioid epidemic. 

The CURES Act passed in the waning days of the Obama administration and promised a billion dollars over two years to improve monitoring, prevention and treatment. This week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the first round of $485 million in grants to states.

Gibbs Portman at table
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman and Congressman Bob Gibbs toured a residential center in Massillon today that treats people addicted to opioids. They also heard arguments that the Medicaid expansion that many fellow Republicans oppose is crucial to such efforts. 

The tour was of two 100-year-old buildings on what used to be the grounds of Massillon State psychiatric hospital. They’ve been renovated and turned over to CommQuest services to provide detox, medication maintenance and residential treatment.

photo of Teresa Long
ANDY CHOW / STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

Some of the biggest players in the fight against Ohio’s opioid abuse told business leaders that the epidemic might be closer than they think and warned them to be prepared.

The top health official in Columbus wants everyone to have Naloxone. City Health Commissioner Teresa Long says many people might brush off the overdose-reversing drug as something only addicts or their family or friends should have.

Long warned during a Columbus Metropolitan Club forum that anyone could be in a position to have to save a life.

Cuyahoga County

A campaign to combat prescription opioid addiction, and believed to be the first in the country, kicked off today in Cuyahoga County. The education effort includes coordinated ads and special print and broadcast programing, with input from a wide range of resources.

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