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

EMS vehicles
TIM RUDELL / WKSU

When it comes to drug addiction, a challenge facing everyone from first responders to long-term caregivers is interrupting the cycle of dependency.  This installment of our series "Opioids: Turning the Tide in the Crisis," looks at  overdose antidotes and replacement therapy.

Narcan kit
Amanda Rabinowitz / WKSU

Narcan (also known as Naloxone) is a medication that can reverse an overdose caused by an opioid drug. Narcan blocks the effects of opioids on the brain and quickly restores breathing. 

Last year, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed legislation that expands the use of Narcan, making it available to schools, homeless shelters, halfway houses and treatment centers.

WKSU's Opioid FAQ

Jan 16, 2017

What is an opioid?
An opioid is one of a family of compounds that mimics the action of opium by acting on pain receptors and the brain and central nervous system, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.   They can be naturally derived (opium comes from poppies) or they can be synthetic (for example, Vicodin, Oxycontin, Percocet or carfentanil). 

JULIE GIBBONS / FLICKR CC

Last year was a record year for fatal overdoses in Ohio. And a big part of that spike was the sudden appearance of the deadly opioid carfentanil.

In this preview of our new series, "Opioids: Turning the Tide in the Crisis," WKSU’s Jeff St.Clair reports the easy availability of powerful synthetics has marked a turning point in the ongoing epidemic.

Pages