addiction

David Marshall / WXXI News

Opioids can have devastating consequences for the people who abuse them, affecting their health, safety and freedom -- but it doesn’t stop there.

Drug abuse can ruin the lives of people who never touch the substances themselves.

Temple University

As the opioid epidemic continues across the country, one graduate student is working on the collegiate level to provide a support system to treat opioid and other types of addiction on campus.

Bob Lamb is a graduate student in the Master of Public Health program at Temple University in Philadelphia and founder of the Temple Collegiate Recovery Program, a student group dedicated to fostering a community of peers in recovery. He spoke with us on “Take Care” about his personal and academic journey with addiction and how college programs can be an important part of recovery.

Cindy Shelbey/Flickr

West Virginia has been one of the hardest-hit states in the opioid epidemic, especially when it comes to neonatal abstinence syndrome -- a condition where addicted mothers give birth to drug-exposed babies.

"Take Care" spoke with Dr. Sean Loudin, pediatrician and neonatologist at Cabell Huntington Hospital in West Virginia and assistant professor at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University, regarding his research and efforts surrounding treating this growing problem.

Clear Sky Treatment Center/Flickr

As the opioid crisis continues to affect millions of Americans, researchers are working to counteract addiction more effectively.

"Take Care" spoke with Dr. Richard Rawson, a professor at the Vermont Center on Behavior and Health at the University of Vermont and professor emeritus at UCLA School of Medicine, about his research and possible solutions to multiple forms of drug addiction.

Cindy Shebley / Flickr

On this episode of "Take Care" we're exploring addiction and the opioid crisis. It's a topic on the minds of health professionals, community leaders, elected officials and citizens across the country. Some cities and states have been hit particularly hard, others are working proactively to give their residents options for recovery. It's a complicated issue that we're looking at from a few different angles.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Syracuse Common Councilors are getting behind a statewide initiative meant to raise awareness about local substance abuse services. The idea behind “United to Fight It: Preventing Substance Abuse” is to get community leaders together with substance abuse coalitions and plaster the community with the information that can help anyone in the midst of addiction get well.

Defining and treating alcohol use disorder

Jun 10, 2017
Matthias Ripp / Flickr

Addiction to alcohol is costly both on a personal level and as a public health issue. But while neither new nor rare, it’s a disease that is misunderstood by many.

This week on “Take Care,” Dr. Patrick O'Connor, professor of general medicine at Yale School of Medicine, discusses alcohol abuse and its treatments. O’Connor has written extensively on alcoholism and opioid addiction and is the chief of general internal medicine at the Primary Care Center, Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Bret Jaspers / WSKG News

A detox center slated for Ithaca still has a few steps to go before it opens. Tompkins County has a significant need for this kind of help for drug addicts.

When people in Tompkins County need help with withdrawal symptoms, they have to go elsewhere.

They often go to Syracuse or Binghamton. In 2015, 220 people left the county for detox help.

But leaving the county isn’t necessarily what a patient wants, according to Angela Sullivan of the Alcohol and Drug Council of Tompkins County.

Southern Arkansas University / Flickr

As gambling casinos continue to open up across the state, the shadow of compulsive gambling grows larger. One Syracuse area gambling addiction clinic is already booked.

Right now, the Syracuse Behavioral Healthcare Gambling Clinic can handle 15 patients at a time, according to integrated outpatient service director Kathi Meadows. And often that’s not enough.

“We actually had people who were coming that we successfully completed. They would have stayed longer, but there was a need to complete them, so we could get more people in the door,” said Meadows.

yourblogondrugs.com / Flickr

In recent years, the United States has seen an alarming spike in opioid overdoses. From prescription painkillers to street drugs like heroin, opioid abuse has led to widespread addiction and all too often, death. Today, development of the counterdrug Narcan is serving to combat the growing problem and save the lives of those affected.

To find out more about this epidemic and what’s being done about it, “Take Care” spoke with emergency medicine physician and Baltimore Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen.

Painkillers: prescription or affliction?

Apr 15, 2017
VCU CNS / Flickr

When a water heater fell on him one fateful day at work, John Dias’ life was forever changed. He awoke in the hospital, partially paralyzed, and when he left, he had a prescription for OxyContin. But like so many others, his prescription became his affliction, resulting in a severe addiction and eventual overdoses.

In recent years, this occurrence has become all too common, leading to the development of the antidote naloxone – the very medicine which revived Dias on two separate occasions. To find out more about his story, “Take Care” spoke with Dias, who opened up about his experience and the importance of naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan.

Thomas Marthisen / Flickr

The number of heroin-related overdoses continues to rise in upstate, including in central New York. Now one agency that helps addicts is putting more emphasis on a harm-reduction technique called a “test shot.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The opioid epidemic claims more victims than those who die of an overdose. Families, friends and loved ones are left living through grief singed with shame and judgment. But there’s now somewhere they can go to get help in central New York.

Quinnika Ayers of Syracuse lost her son Drequan Robinson last year to a lethal cocktail of MDMA, Zanax and fentanyl. He was a student at SUNY Morrisville, and was found unresponsive at a friend’s home after a party. Ayers says Robinson had a troubled youth, but felt he’d turned a corner—or so she thought.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

North Country residents struggling with heroin and opioid addiction have a new treatment option. A medication-assisted heroin treatment center in Watertown is taking its first patients.

Until last week, Credo Community Center in Watertown offered recovering heroin addicts only abstinence treatment – the cold turkey approach to overcoming their substance abuse.

Jim Scordo, Credo’s executive director, says he found it didn’t work for some.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County started a program this week at the Onondaga County Justice Center and the Jamesville Corrections Facility aimed at helping opioid addicts stay clean after they are released from jail. Now, some inmates who are also addicts will be offered a medication that takes away their craving for drugs.

Officials say almost one-third of the population at the Justice Center in downtown Syracuse is addicted to opiates, many of them no stranger to the holding facility.

As Jody Adams scrolled through Facebook in January, one post stuck with her. It was written from the point of view of an infant seeking someone to donate a kidney to his ailing mother.

A nurse for 12 years and the mother of six children, Adams says the idea of donating one of her healthy kidneys had never crossed her mind -- until she read that post. She didn’t want to imagine a little boy growing up without a mother, especially if she could help. It didn’t matter to her that she did not know the family.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Central New York is home to some new strategies meant to help victims of the heroin and opioid epidemic. The strategies include new kinds of support for families of victims, and for individuals recovering from overdoses.

Onondaga County’s new peer engagement specialist, Maria Sweeney, has started to make connections in central New York emergency rooms, to help individuals recovering from a drug abuse issue. She says often there is no one to offer support for recovery, once an addict is released from the hospital.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Among the recommendations of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s heroin task force are a few ideas to improve access to treatment.

One idea would end prior authorization. That’s when patients must first get approval from their insurance before they’re admitted to treatment.

Rob Kent, general counsel to the New York State Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, said the panel heard from a lot of people who wanted help with their addiction, but had to wait.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul wants to know what New Yorkers think the state can do to address the heroin and opioid epidemic. Hochul is traveling with a drug task force panel across the state, listening to local experts share their experiences.

“What we’re going through right now in New York is nothing short of a public health crisis,” Hochul said.

Speaking at Syracuse University, Hochul said the drug task force is putting together a plan to present to the governor and the legislature before their session ends in June.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Abuse of a common over-the-counter drug is the latest side effect of the heroin epidemic.

Loperamide, more commonly known by the brand name Imodium, is used by most people to treat diarrhea. But Upstate New York Poison Center clinical toxicologist Jeanna Marraffa says the drug is used by opioid addicts to get high, or to help with withdrawal symptoms. Marraffa says in large quantities it can activate some of the same receptors as opioids. The problem is, it can kill.

This week: eating disorders, Alzheimer's research and more

Apr 27, 2016

Eating disorders often develop during the transition from childhood into adolescence and from adolescence into early adulthood, says psychologist Jack Wohlers, the clinical director of Centre Syracuse, a treatment program for adults and teens.

Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating can be viewed as a way to cope with life changes and stress, he says. Wohlers describes the secretive behaviors and shame that can be associated with these disorders and the importance of early detection and treatment.

Watertown woman says goodbye to her 20s and heroin addiction

Apr 5, 2016
Brit Hanson / NCPR

It was a cold night in Watertown’s Thompson Park. The sun had already set and the park closed by the time Betsy Rogers and her mom arrived. They were there for what felt like a bittersweet celebration: Betsy’s 30th birthday.

 

She knelt on the ground shivering, trying to light a paper lantern. It had a red number 29 painted on its side. Darlene, Betsy’s mom, stood trying to shield them from the wind. For Betsy, the ritual was about more than turning 30 — she was also celebrating six months clean.

 

This week: Heroin addiction, organic foods and more

Apr 1, 2016

Finding a treatment program and overcoming an addition to heroin or another opioid is difficult but not impossible, says Dr. Ross Sullivan. Sullivan is director of medical toxicology at Upstate Medical University.

Sullivan tells how the effort to control pain medically helped create the current addiction crisis. Recent restrictions on prescription drugs have led to a flood of cheap heroin to fill the gap, he says, and current treatment options are inadequate to fight the high addiction rates.

Courtesy University at Buffalo

The American Board of Medical Specialties recently recognized addiction medicine as an official sub-specialty for doctors. A western New York doctor was instrumental in creating the field.

Dr. Richard Blondell has dedicated more than 20 years of his career treating and trying to prevent addiction. Blondell works to certify fellowship programs that train physicians in addiction medicine and he teaches at the University at Buffalo.

Members of an anti-drug nonprofit  in Watertown head to Capitol Hill this week. The group wants U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer to help fight the heroin crisis and the ways its affecting Jefferson County. 

Since 2011, there have been 79 deaths caused by heroin and opiate overdose in Jefferson County.

Anita Seefried-Brown’s own son died of a heroin overdose a day after he turned  33. He left a young daughter behind.

She says addiction is a disease, and it hurts more than just friends and families of the addicted.

Wikipedia Commons

Assembly members are vowing to expand funding for treatment for opioid addiction in New York. The Assembly Minority Task Force on Heroin Addiction presented their report Monday in the assembly chamber.

Three Republican Assembly members are credited with writing the report that proposes solutions based on a series of local hearings about the heroin addiction problem in New York state.

How heroin is trafficked and how can it be stopped?

Sep 17, 2015
Monica Sandreczki / WSKG News

In the Southern Tier of Broome County, officials have gotten busier busting heroin deals in the past couple years. Law enforcement arrests more people for heroin than any other drug. Heroin makes its way to the region from New York City but it’s not a one-way street. Regional drug trade is more fluid than that.

Sober From Addiction

Jake is a lanky guy in his mid-twenties, wearing a brown striped T-shirt. He’s been sober from heroin addiction for about a year. He asked that his real name not be used in this story. 

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Democrats in the New York State Assembly have come through with some cash for Crouse Hospital in Syracuse to help fund its opioid and heroin abuse program.  

The majority conference is committing $400,000 to Crouse, which runs the only methadone program in the region. It’s struggling to keep up with demand spurred by the recent spike in heroin and opiate addiction across the country and in central New York. Right now the program serves 600 patients; another 500 are on a waiting list. The hospital treats patients who are from the Southern Tier to the North Country.

Michelle Faust / WXXI

 

Deaths from drug overdose have outpaced automobile accidents as the leading cause of injury in 35 states, including New York. But the state is making strides to curtail that trend. Physicians are integral to treating addiction, but the country has a shortage of doctors with training in the specialty.

Tom Magnarelli

 

Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is cosponsoring a bill called the TREAT Act in Congress that would increase the number of patients that medical practitioners can prescribe medication for treatment of drug abuse from 30 to 100. Katko held a public meeting in Oswego to address the recent rise in heroin addictions in central New York.

 

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