opioid crisis

Orange County firefighters will now pass out the opioid reversal drug naloxone to the family members of people suspected of an overdose. The executive order allowing naloxone to be given to family members went into effect more than two years ago.

C.M. Guerrero

Past the barricades, mounds of personal belongings mixed with trash and dirty mattresses where vagrants lay with needles still clutched by limp hands, Shatara Mackey walks with her 7-year-old son to Phillis Wheatley Elementary.

Northwest Second Avenue under the Dolphin/SR 836 overpass is a better route than the next block over, she says.

“It’s just got worse,” said Mackey, 31. “You can see them using and everything down there.”

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.

Six months after hiring former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani’s consulting firm, Purdue Pharma settled a Florida state investigation that had threatened to expose early illegal marketing of its blockbuster drug OxyContin, company and state records show.

Vivitrol
Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Broward County is about to get more money for programs helping people fight their opioid addictions. 

The federal government set aside nearly $1 billion to fight the opioid crisis nationwide this year. Florida is set to receive $49.3 million from those funds, of which  an estimated $7-10 million is going to Broward County.

County officials don’t know yet exactly how much they will get. 

opioid crisis
Franieleon via Flickr / WLRN

Last year saw 1,642 opioid overdoses treated in Broward County emergency rooms. And 85 percent of those cases were overdoses on heroin.

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.  

The law that took effect July 1 limits prescriptions of opioids for acute pain to three days, although a seven day supply can be prescribed under certain conditions. 

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.

The past two years have been a time of reckoning for pharmaceutical manufacturers over their role in promoting opioid drugs that have fed a national epidemic.

The fact that rural, economically disadvantaged parts of the country broke heavily for the Republican candidate in the 2016 election is well known. But Medicare data indicate that voters in areas that went for Trump weren't just hurting economically — many of them were receiving prescriptions for opioid painkillers.

For most of her childhood, growing up in southeastern Pennsylvania, Kelly Zimmerman felt alone and anxious.

She despaired when her mother was depressed or working late shifts; when her parents fought nonstop; when her friends wanted to come over, and she felt too ashamed to let them see her home's buckling floor, the lack of running water.

Kelly tried to shut out those feelings, and when she was 18, a boyfriend offered her an opioid painkiller — Percocet.

Her anxiety dissolved, at least for a little while.

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.

U.S. regulators have approved the first generic version of an under-the-tongue film for treating opioid addiction.

Pages