Opioids

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, state Supreme Court Justice Menis Ketchum submitted a letter of resignation to Gov. Jim Justice on Wednesday, July 11. Ketchum’s stepping down from the bench comes as the entire West Virginia Supreme Court is under investigation for possible impeachment.

Hydrocodone pills
Toby Talbot / AP

News organizations are pushing for the public release of data detailing the distribution of prescription opioids throughout the U.S., information that could show how drug manufacturers and distributors contributed to the nation’s addiction and overdose crisis.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, energy companies in the Ohio Valley have looked to China as important customers and investors in coal and natural gas. But as Brittany Patterson explains, President Trump’s escalating trade battle with China and other trading partners could have a major effect on the region’s energy sector.

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Marshall Health has begun construction on what will soon be the largest residential treatment facility in the region for women suffering from substance use disorder and their children.

In cooperation with the Huntington City Mission, Marshall Health is renovating a 15,000 square-foot building formerly known as “Project Hope.” The new project will be called Project Hope for Women and Children and is funded through a grant from the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we’ll hear from a man who knows what it’s like to struggle and recover from drugs and alcohol. This story and more coming up on this West Virginia Morning.

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A new study finds that medications used to treat opioid use disorder are greatly underutilized even though they’re proven to significantly reduce chances of opioid-related deaths. 

 

Hydrocodone pills
Toby Talbot / AP

A federal judge in Ohio will consider whether to allow public access to government data detailing years of prescription opioid painkiller shipments.

Gabby Marshall

Inside the spotless industrial kitchen at Recovery Point, a long-term drug treatment facility in Charleston, Tracy Jividen helps to cook three meals a day for the nearly 100 women she calls her sisters. This space is her domain, and the irony isn’t lost on her: Last winter, she was stealing so she could eat.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Trump has told the Department of Energy to stop the pending closure of some economically struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants. As Brittany Patterson reports, energy analysts say that would raise bills for consumers and would likely come too late to help facilities in the Ohio Valley.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A new study from the Government Accountability Office finds that the federal fund supporting coal miners with black lung disease could be in financial trouble without congressional action. As Benny Becker reports, the GAO found that the fund’s debt could rise dramatically at the same time that black lung disease is surging.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Moring, Kandi Messinger is a health educator for WVU Cabell County Extension Service. She teaches a nutrition and cooking basics class for those going through the Cabell County drug courts program. Kara Lofton spoke with Messinger about why alternative education and life skills training is an important piece of recovery.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the U.S. Surgeon General recently issued an advisory, encouraging more Americans to carry the overdose reversing drug naloxone. It comes in the form of an injection or a nasal spray, known as Narcan, and is regularly carried by firefighters, EMTs and police officers. As a part of a series on the ripple effects of the opioid crisis, StateImpact Ohio’s Ashton Marra reports the antidote is also becoming more and more common in Ohio schools.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Gov. Jim Justice called legislators back into session this week to fix laws passed during the regular legislative session. But addressing flaws in the state’s medical cannabis program wasn’t on the special session call. As Dave Mistich reports, Democrats are working outside the regular lawmaking process to fix the law anyway.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, researchers at Murray State University in Kentucky released a pair of studies that found illicit substances in some water sources in the region. One study profiled contamination in wastewater and river waters. The other estimated consumption rates during special events. Cory Sharber of  WKMS reports.

Officials from various drugmakers answer questions on Capitol Hill Tuesday, May 8, 2018.
Alex Brandon / Associated Press

Lawmakers of both parties accused wholesale pharmaceutical distributors on Tuesday of missing signs of suspicious activity that resulted in hundreds of millions of prescription opioid pills being shipped to West Virginia, a state disproportionately ravaged by deaths caused by the addictive drugs.

A few months ago, Kourtnaye Sturgeon helped save someone's life. She was driving in downtown Indianapolis when she saw people gathered around a car on the side of the road. Sturgeon pulled over and a man told her there was nothing she could do: Two men had overdosed on opioids and appeared to be dead.

"I kind of recall saying, 'No man, I've got Narcan,' " she says, referring to the brand- name version of the opioid overdose antidote, naloxone. "Which sounds so silly, but I'm pretty sure that's what came out."

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Senator Joe Manchin’s office released a report today that found in 2016, the economic cost of the opioid epidemic in West Virginia was more than 8.7 billion dollars.

Nationwide, the economic cost of the opioid crisis is more than 500 billion, according to a 2017 report from the Council for Economic Advisors.  The brief from Manchin’s office relied heavily on the CEA report to draw conclusions about the financial impact on West Virginia.

Prescriptions, Pills, Drugs, Prescription
U.S. Air Force

Drugmakers would be required to identify the legitimate need for controlled substances to justify their production under a proposed rule intended to rein in the diversion of drugs for illicit purposes.

The Drug Enforcement Administration announced the proposed rule change Tuesday.

Drugs, Drug abuse, Drug overdose, overdose
Pixabay

Cabell County is leading West Virginia in the number of fatal overdoses for the second year in a row.

Citing state data, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports 909 people died of drug overdoses in West Virginia in 2017, an increase from the previous record of 887, set in 2016. Overdose deaths seemed to slow during late 2017, though the state Health Statistics Center says that could be due to reporting delays.

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More than 40 people were arrested in Huntington this week on drug and gun charges in a sweeping joint investigation targeting accused interstate drug traffickers in what officials called a "turning point" for the city -- and "in the war against the opiate nightmare." 

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Kentucky ranks in the top five highest number of drug overdoses in the country. It also has one of the highest of Hepatitis C, and while HIV/AIDS cases are declining the U.S., Kentucky holds steady with new cases. Much of this can be traced back to people who use IV drugs, using needles or syringes to inject opioids.

Leah Hill, a behavioral health fellow with the Baltimore City Health Department, displays a sample of Narcan nasal spray in Baltimore.
Patrick Semansky / Associated Press file photo

On a Baltimore street corner, public health workers hand out a life-saving overdose antidote to residents painfully familiar with the ravages of America’s opioid epidemic. But the training wraps up quickly; all the naloxone inhalers are claimed within 20 minutes.

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Health officials said the rate of babies born dependent on drugs has increased dramatically in West Virginia during the past five years.

In releasing county-level data for about half the state Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Resources said in a news release that the statewide rate for neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS, was 50.6 per 1,000 live births last year.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a vacant hotel in Williamson, Mingo County, is set to open as a sober-living facility, run by the county’s housing authority. As Molly Born reports, the complex is likely to be a controversial addition to the southern West Virginia town hit hard by the opioid epidemic.

Our Take A Number series is looking at problems around the world — and people trying to solve them — through the lens of a single number.

In Huntington, W.Va., the number is 10. As in, the rate of babies born with a drug dependency there is 10 times the national average.

It's a number that shows the magnitude of the opioid crisis in this blue collar city. It's also one of the numbers that has prompted two very different people in this community to say, "Enough."

Hydrocodone pills
Toby Talbot / AP

West Virginia’s governor has signed legislation to limit opioid prescriptions that doctors can prescribe to treat acute pain.

Gov. Jim Justice on Tuesday signed the bill that would limit such prescriptions to supplies lasting three, four or seven days, depending on who writes them.

WVU

Dr. Michael Brumage resigned today as director of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources’ Office of Drug Control Policy after less than two months on the job.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, President Donald Trump’s call to implement the death penalty for drug traffickers grabbed headlines Monday. But public health officials are stressing other elements of the administration’s plan to address the opioid crisis. Aaron Payne spoke with the acting director of the Centers for Disease Control about plans for the Ohio Valley.

Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

“We have a problem that’s bringing us to our knees,” said West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Cabinet Secretary Bill Crouch at a press event in Charleston. A representative from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration visited West Virginia Monday to announce an additional $330,000 of funding for opioid abuse prevention and treatment.

“The opioid problem and substance abuse problem affects virtually every family in West Virginia,” he continued.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we explore attempts to finding solutions to the region’s opioid epidemic, and we hear a story from the Ohio Valley ReSource on the potential impacts of tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

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