opioid crisis

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.

OLEG DUDKO 123RF STOCK PHOTO

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.

Jan Fidler / 123rf

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is planning to announce a lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company on Monday for contributing to the state's opioid crisis.

Ashton Marra / WVPB

When Dr. Rahul Gupta started work as West Virginia’s chief health officer his state was already ground zero for the opioid epidemic, with some of the nation’s highest rates of addiction and overdose fatalities.

That was 2015, and 735 state residents died from overdoses that year.  

Preliminary data for 2017 show there were 1,011 overdose deaths last year, a record high for the state.

Alexandra Kanik | Ohio Valley ReSource

New data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health show a rare bright spot amid the opioid crisis. Fewer high schoolers in the region appear to be using opioids.

Anthony Scott Lockard / KY River Dist. Health

In a room at the Letcher County Health Department in Whitesburg, Kentucky, about 20 people are learning how to use naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication.

STU JOHNSON / WEKU

A congressional field hearing in Lexington Thursday included discussion on issues related to opioid recovery and transitional housing.  Testimony on opioid use for pain management was also presented.

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