opioid overdoses

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.

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.

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."

In a refrigerator in the coroner's office in Marion County, Ind., rows of vials await testing. They contain blood, urine and vitreous, the fluid collected from inside a human eye.

In overdose cases, the fluids may contain clues for investigators.

"We send that off to a toxicology lab to be tested for what we call drugs of abuse," said Alfie Ballew, deputy coroner. The results often include drugs such as cocaine, heroin, fentanyl or prescription pharmaceuticals.

opioid crisis
Franieleon via Flickr / WLRN

Broward County filed a new lawsuit in federal court Monday against manufacturers of opioid drugs.

Walmart, Walgreens, the McKesson Corp. and CVS Health are just some of the drug makers and distributors Broward County is suing.  

 

Others include Johnson & Johnson, Cardinal Health Inc., Health Mart Systems, Mallinckrodt, Amerisourcebergen Corp., as well as Endo Janssen, Purdue, Cephalon and Teva Pharmaceuticals.