opioid crisis

Rebecca Kiger

At a town hall event in Logan, Ohio, Kelly Taulbee walks through the steps of an encounter with someone experiencing an opioid overdose. She's training a group to use NARCAN, the opioid reversal medication. She pulled out the small applicator and demonstrated how easy it is to spray the medication in someone’s nose.

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A group of Kentucky hospitals is suing dozens of opioid makers and distributors saying the companies misrepresented the benefits and dangers of the painkiller.

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Vice President Mike Pence praised Kentucky’s effort Thursday to combat the opioid epidemic saying more federal money is being invested to help the progress being made in the region.

51fifty / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0), https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/

Two newly released sets of government data show that the death toll from the nation’s opioid crisis may finally be dropping and also reveal the scale of the pain pill sales that help set the crisis in motion. The data for the Ohio Valley show how hard the region was hit and how hard people in these communities have been fighting to save lives.

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Kentucky officials are reporting the first statewide drop in drug overdose deaths since 2013.

Mary Meehan, Ohio Valley Resource

Charles “Country” Bowers takes long, quick strides down a worn dirt path and is soon in front of a thicket of bushes made deep and tall by spring rains.

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The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday more than a dozen indictments against doctors in the Ohio Valley on charges relating to the illegal distribution of opioids. These are the first major indictments from the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force, which started work in December.

Rebecca Kiger | Ohio Valley ReSource

The Appalachian Regional Commission announced Thursday another $22.8 million in funding to 33 projects aimed at revitalizing economies in places affected by the decline in the coal industry.

It was a Friday afternoon, and a young man — the doctor called him “J” — needed help. J was addicted to heroin. The doctor, Mike Kalfas, had treated him several times before with buprenorphine, a drug that blocks opioid cravings and is part of a class of drugs most successful in keeping patients in recovery.

J had recently gotten out of jail on a drug-related charge, Kalfas said. There, he’d had to stop using buprenorphine because it wasn’t available.

“I wrote him the prescription, and it’s 5:30 p.m. on a Friday when he left my office,” Kalfas told Kentucky lawmakers earlier this month. “About 6:30 p.m. the paper comes over the fax machine, denying his medication.”

Aleksey Butov / 123rf Stock Photo

An Illinois hotline that supports people addicted to opioids and other substances has received 10,000 calls since it was set up in late 2017.

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