opioid

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

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.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

When Melissa Ives was recovering from a brutal motorcycle accident, the opioid medication she was prescribed helped mask the pain. But eventually, those pills ran out so she turned to a cheaper alternative - heroin.

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.

 

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines on how doctors prescribe opioids for chronic pain. Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Republican Rep. John Katko want to see those guidelines pushed even further.

Speaking at an addiction prevention agency in Syracuse, Gillibrand said doctors do not have guidelines for what to prescribe patients with acute pain such as a broken arm or tooth extraction, when the pain is short in duration and not chronic.

Last week, sheriff’s deputies raided what they say is the biggest fentanyl mill they’ve seen in Onondga County, arresting six people and stopping the sale of an estimated 6,000 bags of fentanyl-laced heroin locally. The bust showcases how a drug that is often used for good, has been co-opted into the illegal drug scene.

Anyone ever involved in a car accident, or who has gone to the emergency room with a broken bone, may have heard of fentanyl. The synthetic opioid is a prescription medication, according to William Eggleston, a pharmacist inn the Upstate Poison Control Center.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Local police agencies have a new foe in the fight against opioid addiction -- the synthetic drug fentanyl. It started showing up on central New York streets just over a year ago. Fentanyl, mostly mixed with heroin, but sometimes on i’s own, being sold to opioid users. 

Payne Horning / WRVO News

In the state's latest attempt to combat the heroin epidemic, officials are expanding access to a drug overdose antidote to ensure more New Yorkers can access the potentially life saving medicine. 

Naloxone, more commonly referred to as Narcan, is now available without a prescription at 750 independent pharmacies and chain pharmacies. That's in addition to the 480 CVS and 460 Walgreens pharmacies that were approved to offer Narcan without a prescription earlier this year.

Oswego's Wayne Drugs manager Jamie Branshaw praised the state's action.

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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.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Onondaga County held a heroin and opioid forum to provide information on the drug epidemic and how users can get help. Onondaga County Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta said people who are addicted to prescription opioids are 40 times more likely to become addicted to heroin.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department is starting up a couple of new programs in response to the opioid abuse epidemic in Central New York. 

Addicted inmates at the Onondaga County Justice Center will have an option to help start the process of kicking the habit, with a dose of a drug called Vivitrol. 

Opioid overdose deaths up nationally; NY state reacts

Dec 14, 2015
yourblogondrugs.com / Flickr

More Americans died last year of opioid overdoses than did the year before.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is responding to data that shows deaths by heroin more than tripled since 2010, and so is New York state.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports more than 47,000 deaths in 2014 from prescription opioid painkillers and heroin combined. That’s an increase over the previous year.

Feds move to curb overdose deaths

Oct 9, 2015

The federal government wants to curb the number of deaths from opioid drug overdoses. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) hopes to make in-roads by funding intervention and prevention.

HHS Secretary Silvia Burwell recently announced initiatives that target heroin and opioid deaths and dependence across the country. $133 million has been allocated to programs for treatment and education.

Chris Jones, director of science policy at HHS, says much of the education about opioids needs to be directed at medical professionals.

Key Foster / Flickr

The Onondaga County Drug Task Force continues to look for ways to keep prescription drugs out of the wrong hands. A new pilot program launched this month will place them in the hands of police.

Nine police agencies, including the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department, are putting out collection bins in their offices for unused prescription and non-prescription drugs, as well as used needles.

Gail Banach, of the Upstate New York Poison Center, says the idea is to create a safe place to drop drugs that otherwise could be abused.

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.

PunchingJudy / Flickr

In the last six months, New York state has trained 10,000 laypeople to use Narcan, a drug that can save a person from death after an overdose of opioids like heroin or prescription pain killers. Local emergency medical technicians say they are behind the move, if people are properly trained.

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 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?

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.

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."

Crouse Hospital

A spike in heroin and prescription painkiller abuse in central New York is the reason behind the expansion of a program that helps addicts.

Crouse Hospital in Syracuse says it’s expanding its opioid program, the only one in the area, in response to a community need for methadone treatment. Monica Taylor, director of behavior health at Crouse, says it won’t happen overnight.