Fentanyl

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Congressman Evan Jenkins hosted a roundtable in Charleston yesterday focused on the federal response to fentanyl and other dangerous synthetic opioids that are flooding the Appalachian region. Fentanyl is one of the deadliest opioids on the streets today. Just 3 milligrams of the drug can kill an adult male compared to about 30 milligrams of heroin.

 

 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Climate activists are being trained by former Vice President Al Gore this week in Pittsburgh. As The Allegheny Front’s Reid Fraizer reports, Gore founded the Climate Reality Project 10 years ago, after making his climate change documentary, an Inconvenient Truth. 

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A new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month found a 264 percent increase in overdose deaths related to synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, tramadol, and Demerol between 2012 and 2015.

Experts think the spike is likely related to illicitly manufactured drugs, particularly fentanyl, which is often cut with heroin or cocaine, rather than pharmaceutically manufactured synthetic opioids. Illegally manufactured fentanyl is often mixed with or sold as heroin. Fentanyl is 50-100 times more potent than morphine.


A federal judge has rejected a plea agreement between prosecutors and a West Virginia man, citing the state's deadly drug crisis.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports Judge Joseph R. Goodwin rejected the deal on Monday between prosecutors and 38-year-old Charles York Walker Jr. A federal grand jury indicted Walker in September 2016 on multiple charges including heroin and fentanyl distribution.

  An Ohio man who sold heroin laced with an elephant tranquilizer that caused more than two dozen overdoses in West Virginia has been sentenced to more than 18 years in federal prison.

Twenty-two-year-old Bruce Lamar Griggs, of Akron, was sentenced Monday in federal court in Huntington.

On The Legislature Today, a bill to legalize medical marijuana in the state is bypassing the committee process, putting it on the fast track for a vote in the House.

The vote Thursday night has been called historic in the chamber, but several delegates argued pulling the bill out of the committee process was the only way members would get to vote in a medical marijuana bill this session.

Fentanyl Bill Progresses in Senate

Mar 31, 2017
Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Senators are considering amendments to a bill that would make it illegal to manufacture and distribute fentanyl in West Virginia, adding it to the state’s list of schedule one drugs.

One Senator, however, thinks the bill may prohibit doctors from prescribing the drug for terminally ill patients, which caused some delay to consideration Friday.

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An Ohio man was accused of distributing an elephant sedative to people, which, according to federal prosecutors, resulted in about two dozen overdoses in a West Virginia city.

On Monday, prosecutors charged 22-year-old Bruce Lamar Griggs of Akron, Ohio, with distributing carfentanil and fentanyl, local news organizations reported.

Opioids
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A new report says nearly 12 million Medicare beneficiaries received at least one prescription for an opioid painkiller last year at a cost of $4.1 billion. Federal data show how common the addictive drugs are in many older Americans' medicine cabinets.

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A Charleston neurologist has pleaded guilty to a federal record-keeping violation.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that Dr. Iraj Derakhshan admitted in federal court in Charleston on Thursday that he dispensed a prescription painkiller to a patient last June without reporting it.

AP Photo / Tom Gannam

Fatal overdoses linked to a powerful opioid nearly tripled in West Virginia last year.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that overdoses caused by fentanyl increased from 55 deaths in 2014 to 154 deaths last year.

West Virginia's Bureau of Public Health commissioner Dr. Rahul Gupta says people can overdose and die more quickly with fentanyl. The drug is an opioid that is sometimes laced with heroin and is stronger than prescription morphine.

Opioids, opioid, painkillers, perscription, narcotics, doctors, narcotics
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Unintentional fentanyl-related drug overdose deaths in Ohio increased by almost six-fold in one year, beginning in 2013. Late last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Health, analyzed available data to assess risk factors for overdose.

Yesterday, the CDC released a report that found the “risk factors for fentanyl-related overdose deaths included: male gender, white race, some college or less education, history of a substance abuse problem, and a
current mental health issue.”