drug addiction

Updated at 5:37 p.m. ET

Confronted with a torrent of lawsuits across the U.S., several major drug companies are in discussions with authorities to resolve thousands of opioid-related suits filed against them. A government source close to the negotiations tells NPR that Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, Endo International and Allergan are looking to cut deals.

Two key ingredients came together for Shannon McCarty to get off drugs in late 2017: connections and timing.

"The police showed up because they said they got a call that we were shooting up in the car," Shannon said.

Everett police officer, Inci Yarkut walked up to window of the car where Shannon was living.

Needle Exchanges Find New Champions Among Republicans

May 9, 2019
Sammy Mack / WLRN News

Once repellent to conservative politicians, needle exchanges are now being endorsed and legalized in Republican-controlled states.

At least four legislatures have considered bills to allow hypodermic needle exchanges, and two states, Georgia and Idaho, made them legal this year. In each of these states, the House and Senate are controlled by Republicans and the governor is a Republican.

Sammy Mack / WLRN

The state legislative session is over and the fate of a bill that would allow the expansion of needle exchanges throughout Florida is now up to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Infectious Disease Elimination Programs bill creates a legal mechanism for counties to authorize programs that swap clean syringes for dirty ones. Needle exchanges have been shown to reduce the spread of blood borne infections—like HIV and hepatitis C—among injection drug users.

The bill passed 111-3 in the Florida House and unanimously in the Florida Senate.

This week, a federal appeals court addressed the right to treatment for an inmate who suffers from opioid addiction, a move that legal advocates say could have wide repercussions.

Amelia and her roommate had been awake for two days straight. They decided to spray-paint the bathroom hot pink. After that, they laid into building and rebuilding the pens for the nine pit bull puppies they were raising in their two-bedroom apartment.

Then the itching started. It felt like pinpricks under the skin of her hands. Amelia was convinced she had scabies, skin lice. She spent hours in front of the mirror checking her skin and picking at her face. She even got a health team to come test the apartment. All they found were a few dust mites.

Faced with a flood of addicted inmates and challenged by lawsuits, America's county jails are struggling to adjust to an opioid health crisis that has turned many of the jails into their area's largest drug treatment centers.

In an effort to get a handle on the problem, more jails are adding some form of medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, to help inmates safely detox from opioids and stay clean behind bars and after release.

A bill aimed at making sure people with mental health and substance abuse disorders have access to early intervention and peer mentorship has unanimously cleared the Florida House.

Jac Martinez and Bloomsbury Publishing Inc.

T Kira Madden chronicles her childhood in Boca Raton as a queer and multiracial woman in her new debut memoir, “Long Live The Tribe of Fatherless Girls.”

Sammy Mack / WLRN

There's a proposal in Tallahassee right now that could make it easier for injection drug users to trade dirty needles for fresh ones -- preventing the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C.

A trial project in Miami Dade County is the only legal needle exchange in Florida. The bill would let the other counties to create something similar.

Legislation aiming to expand Miami-Dade’s successful needle exchange program to other counties is advancing through the Senate. The three-year-old program has even changed some doubters’ minds.

Two Crises In One: As Drug Use Rises, So Does Syphilis

Feb 15, 2019

Public health officials grappling with record-high syphilis rates around the nation have pinpointed what appears to be a major risk factor: drug use.

“Two major public health issues are colliding,” said Dr. Sarah Kidd, a medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead author of a new report issued Thursday on the link between drugs and syphilis.

It's not even 6 a.m. when Amy and Christie begin a 45 minute drive south. 

The two friends are headed to a clinic in Hernando County where they’ll get a dose of methadone. They take this trip seven days a week, they said, to keep from relapsing into the pill addiction that nearly destroyed their lives.

ep_jhu/flickr

Palm Beach County has been the epicenter of the opioid crisis in Florida. But data from the county’s state attorney office shows opioid deaths decreased 41 percent from 2017 to 2018.

For the first time in U.S. history, a leading cause of deaths — vehicle crashes — has been surpassed in likelihood by opioid overdoses, according to a new report on preventable deaths from the National Safety Council.

Americans now have a 1 in 96 chance of dying from an opioid overdose, according to the council's analysis of 2017 data on accidental death. The probability of dying in a motor vehicle crash is 1 in 103.

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