heroin

The symptoms of epilepsy may appear differently in senior citizens than in younger people, which makes the diagnosis tricky and can lead to incorrect treatment, says Dr. Rebecca O’Dwyer, a neurologist at Upstate Medical University.

She says the incidence of epilepsy in older adults is on the rise and about half of the cases are caused by strokes. Symptoms do not always include convulsions, though.

Attorney General candidate John Cahill is proposing a plan to fight the heroin epidemic that’s ravaging communities across the state.  

Cahill, a Republican, says the five-point plan attacks the problem from a number of angles. It starts with tougher laws that go after the drug traffickers, including tougher sentences and changes in the classification of the drug in penal law.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Both candidates running to represent the 24th Congressional District want to prevent heroin and synthetic drug use in New York, but have different ways of doing it.

Republican candidate John Katko says he has a twofold approach to address the issue.

"It's targeted enforcement, beefed up targeted enforcement about the heroin and synthetic drug problem, through the enhancement of task forces," Katko said. "So that's basically what this plan is about."

Katko proposes to increase law enforcement funding and manpower, and expand treatment options.

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.”

Lorraine Rapp / WRVO

This forum aired on Sunday, July 20 at 7 p.m.

Heroin is the latest illegal drug to become a scourge on communities in upstate New York and throughout the nation -- and it feels like it happened overnight.

What is causing this rise in heroin abuse? In part in can be linked to widespread abuse of painkillers and an effort to clamp down on them. Who is using it and how does it affect those who use it? Whether it's actor Philip Seymour Hoffman or SUNY Oswego students, heroin is impacting a wide range of socioeconomic groups.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have agreed to a package of bills combating heroin addiction, and say they are still discussing other issues, including medical marijuana, as the legislative session draws to a close.  

Cuomo calls the measures to curb the heroin abuse epidemic his top priority for the end of the 2014 session. He says the legislation will require health insurance companies to pay for more treatments.

“Insurance companies, frankly, can’t play games and decide who gets treatment and who doesn’t get treatment,” said Cuomo.

Why heroin use has become an epidemic

May 30, 2014

Use of the illegal narcotic heroin is on the rise across the nation and in New York state. In the last decade, the number of people hooked on heroin is estimated to have doubled. And it is claiming lives from actor Philip Seymour Hoffman to SUNY Oswego students. This week on WRVO's health and wellness show "Take Care," Hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen, speak with The New York Times reporter J. David Goodman, who has reported extensively on the causes and effects of the heroin epidemic.

Lorraine Rapp: Why do you think there is a rise in heroin use? What’s behind that?

Wallyg / via Flickr

A Republican-led Senate task force has released a package of bills aimed at combating the growing heroin addiction in New York.

The bills would require schools to carry supplies of Naloxone, the drug used to treat heroin overdoses and in many cases, prevent death. They would also require better management of patients treated for drug addiction, and  convert some recently closed state prisons to treatment centers.

Abuse of heroin and opioids is something that often starts in adolescence, according to SUNY Upstate Medical Center addiction expert Dr. Brian Johnson. He said the illegal drug industry begins targeting middle schoolers, so they become addicted by the time they’re out of high school.

“The industry wants to recruit children,” Johnson said. “It’s a pediatric disease. By the time some of these kids get to college, the college [health care providers] say they’ve had this addiction for several years and it’s entrenched.”

He said one way to deal with this is to be more aware.

Cassandra Genua

SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley, in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, praised the response of the Oswego police and fire departments to heroin overdoses over the weekend that left one student dead and hospitalized two students. 

Stanley also said, “it is time for a new approach to the Bridge Street Run,” the traditional pub crawl in Oswego to celebrate the end of the SUNY Oswego school year, which was going on when the overdoses occurred.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

The city of Oswego Police Department has arrested two men in connection with the heroin overdoses that occurred in the early Saturday morning hours in Oswego.

Brian Tumolo, 21, of Manorville, N.Y., has been charged with selling heroin to two people, who later were taken to Oswego Hospital and treated for suspected heroin overdoses. Tumolo was arrested early Saturday morning.

One of the individuals Tumolo is alleged to have sold the heroin to is Gabriel Gonzalez, 22, of Bridgeport, Conn. Gonzalez was arrested Monday evening and also charged with selling heroin.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Story updated on Monday, May 12 at 8:00 a.m.

On the SUNY Oswego campus, students say they are still coming to terms with the weekend's heroin overdoses, in which one student died and two others were hospitalized.

Many students say they are uncomfortable talking about the subject. One student, Jessie Brandt, said she was scared when she first saw the emergency alerts on her phone.

Brett Levin / Flickr

It was a day of drug policy discussion in Albany, as lawmakers held a forum on legalizing marijuana, proposed bills to combat heroin addiction and overdoses and made progress toward a medical marijuana program.

Sponsors of a bill to legalize marijuana held a forum that in part focused on the nuts and bolts of how to implement a system that would permit sales and impose taxes on the drug.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

A spate of heroin overdoses last week in Syracuse has created a more urgent tone for one community organization’s program meant to fight overdoses. The Opioid Overdose Prevention Program run by ACR Health in Syracuse hopes to prevent stories like this in the future.

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."

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Along with a spike in heroin and other opiate use in central and northern New York has come a jump in the number of  drug overdose deaths. One Syracuse health organization hopes to bring that number down by teaching people how to administer a drug that can stop the effects of an overdose.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

With heroin abuse raging among young adults and in rural communities, New York's senior senator is calling for a new state-wide database to be created so local law enforcement agencies can better track the drug's use.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., says a database for heroin hospitalizations and arrests would be the first in the nation. 

"The problem is that the increase in heroin abuse - it was going down for a long time, now it’s going up - so we have to catch up," Schumer told reporters Wednesday.

prx.org

How does heroin end up on the streets of Chicago? Why are minors being held in solitary confinement – even when they haven’t been convicted of a crime? And what happens when you pair poets with investigative journalists?

These are just a few of the questions explored in the second pilot episode of “Reveal,” a new radio show dedicated to investigative journalism from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. Hear the broadcast Sunday evening, March 9, at 7:00 p.m.

On this episode: