addiction

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.

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.

 

  Waiting lists for treatment of opioid addiction continue to grow in central New York. That’s why local addiction experts are hoping proposed federal legislation that could help the situation becomes law.  

Monika Taylor, director of behavioral health services at Crouse Hospital in Syracuse says Buprenorphine, also known as Suboxone, can be key to someone getting off their addiction to opioids -- heroin or prescription painkillers.

This week, a bipartisan team of New York state senators announced a round of four hearings around the state addressing the heroin epidemic.  The state poison control center received 255 calls about toxic exposures to heroin throughout upstate New York state last year. 82 of those toxic exposures were from Onondaga County.

State senators are turning to police, doctors, and their constituents for proposed solutions to the increase in deaths from opioid overdoses.

Why heroin is back

Jul 18, 2014
Lorraine Rapp / WRVO

Heroin is the latest drug that is wreaking havoc in central and northern New York, and around the country. At a recent WRVO community health forum, WRVO a panel of regional experts discussed why so many people are becoming addicted to heroin and other opiates and what can be done about it.

As Brad Finn, the executive director of the Prevention Network in Syracuse says, heroin has always been around.

“Heroin when it came back recently is much more pure and it’s much less expensive than ever before.”

Viri G / Flickr

The New York State Gaming Commission is holding hearings on the issue of gambling addiction. It’s part of a process that will allow the building of up to seven new casino gambling resorts in the state over the next several years.

Among those testifying was James Maney, the executive director of the New York Council on Problem Gambling.

Maney, who’s organization is neither for or against gambling, says there’s no doubt the new casinos will increase the number of problem gamblers in New York.   

Last week the Food and Drug Administration approved a prescription device that can inject a fast acting antidote to heroin and other opioid drugs. It’s the latest response to a surge in opioid abuse. Heroin use has doubled between 2007 and 2012, and it’s no longer just an urban street drug; it’s now common in small town America.

For almost 40 of his 54 years, Jerry Jones has done drugs.

"At an early age, started with pot, drinking," Jones said. "It wasn't long after that where I started using other drugs, cocaine, speed, acid. I've done every drug under the sun."

Now that Gov. Andrew Cuomo is taking steps to move ahead with the legalization of medical marijuana in New York state, there are some who are urging caution. The concern comes from experts who deal with drug addictions every day.

During his State of the State address earlier this week, Cuomo said he would enact a plan allowing 20 hospitals to dispense medical marijuana to those suffering from cancer and other ailments.

Matthew Powell/flickr

New Yorkers have a chance to vote this November on whether there should be more gambling in the state.  Those who treat people with gambling addictions say it will likely result in more problem gamblers.

The New York Council on Problem Gambling is a not for profit, affiliated with the state agency on alcohol and drug abuse. It coordinates and publicizes treatments for New Yorkers with gambling addictions.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

The deaths of two homeless people in Syracuse in the last week has put the spotlight on the people who live under bridges and overpasses of central New York. A memorial service for a woman who was found unconscious, and who later died, ended with calls for patience and help for the homeless.