drug addiction

Cristina Rivell has been struggling with an opioid addiction since she was a teenager — going in and out of rehab for five years. The most recent time, her doctor prescribed her a low dose of buprenorphine (often known by its brand name, Suboxone), a drug that helps curb cravings for stronger opioids and prevents the symptoms of withdrawal.

Vivitrol
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Enrique Martinez was dripping water when he walked into Fifth Street Counseling Center, in Plantation, on a Tuesday evening last July.  

Florida Department of Corrections

Florida prisons are seeing an increasing number of inmate deaths that authorities blame on a synthetic marijuana substance known as K2, or spice.

The increase in overdoses has prompted state officials to launch an educational campaign intended to show inmates the dangers of using the substance. The campaign was first reported by WLRN's news partner the Miami Herald.

Four inmates sit silently in the library of the Franklin County House of Correction one summer morning. But these men aren't here to read books.

It's hard enough for employers to find workers to fill open jobs these days, but on top of it, many prospective hires are failing drug tests.

The Belden electric wire factory in Richmond, Ind., is taking a novel approach to both problems: It now offers drug treatment, paid for by the company, to job applicants who fail the drug screen. Those who complete treatment are also promised a job.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

A Palm Beach Post investigation has uncovered Florida's role in igniting the country’s heroin epidemic in 2011.

 

The state’s repeated failure to control its own prescription drug problem would eventually lead to more addicts turning to heroin not only on Florida, but in other states around the country. 

Peter Haden / WLRN News

Ten years ago, before the financial crisis hit the state, there were 579 publicly funded beds for substance abuse treatment in Palm Beach County. Today there are around 179, and in the coming days that number will go down even further, according to Alton Taylor, the executive director of the Drug Abuse Foundation in Delray Beach, the county's largest provider of publicly funded substance abuse treatment beds.

One of Attorney General Pam Bondi’s top priorities is cracking down on drugs. And, during a recent Florida Cabinet meeting, she invited a young rapper to spread a similar anti-drug message.

More than 115 Americans are dying every day from an opioid overdose. But a study out Monday finds that just three in 10 patients revived by an EMT or in an emergency room received the follow-up medication known to avoid another life-threatening event.

Dr. Rosalind Osgood
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

After nearly 19 years of legal wrangling and funding battles, Broward County’s Addiction And Recovery Center, BARC, has moved to its new building in Fort Lauderdale. 

The more than $22 million, state-of-the-art facility officially opened Wednesday, though services won’t be available to patients until the end of the month or early July.

Rocky Rodriguez has served on the Broward County Substance Abuse Advisory Board for the last 34 years. He regrets how long the project took to complete.

More than a dozen U.S. Air Force airmen were linked to a drug ring at a base that controls America's nuclear missiles and have faced disciplinary actions – including courts martial, according to an investigation by The Associated Press.

Military investigators cracked the ring in 2016, after one of the service members made the mistake of posting drug-related material to social media.

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."

To the untrained, the evidence looks promising for a new medical device to ease opioid withdrawal. A small study shows that people feel better when the device, an electronic nerve stimulator called the Bridge, is placed behind their ear.

The company that markets the Bridge is using the study results to promote its use to anyone who will listen: policymakers, criminal justice officials and health care providers.

The message is working.

Drew was in his early 30s. His medical history included alcohol abuse, but he had been sober for several months when he became my patient.

His previous doctor had given him a prescription for Ativan, or lorazepam, which is frequently used to allay tremors and seizures from alcohol withdrawal.

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."

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