epidemic

Screen shot livestream from Congressional hearing.

A Congressional panel heard testimony and had some sharp questions Thursday about the epidemic of black lung disease among Appalachian miners. Labor leaders are calling on federal regulators to strengthen protections for miners and several lawmakers wanted to know why the country’s top mine safety agency is not doing more in response to the dramatic increase in the preventable but deadly disease.

U.S. National College of Medicine

  Much of the effort to confront the opioid crisis in America has focused on young adult and middle-aged populations. But  a new study finds that more older adults, including those in Kentucky, are showing up in emergency rooms because of opioid misuse.

Aaron Payne/Ohio Valley ReSource

New data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health show a rare bright spot amid the opioid crisis. Fewer high schoolers in the region appear to be using opioids.

School officials in the Ohio Valley want to continue that trend with more school-based programs designed to help prevent substance use disorders. But these are not the same drug prevention programs many people remember from their school days.

 

Mary Meehan

Health officials are urging everyone in Fayette County to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A.

At a press conference Tuesday, Health Commissioner Dr. Kraig Humbaugh said Fayette County has only 9 cases confirmed so far, but that the vaccine has “an excellent track record” of preventing the spread of the disease.

Anthony Scott Lockard/Kentucky River Health District

In a room at the Letcher County Health Department in Whitesburg, Kentucky, about 20 people are learning how to use naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal medication.

Among them is 18-year-old Morgan Hopkins. An aspiring therapist, Hopkins said she wants to be ready with naloxone if someone overdoses around her.

 

“You never know what you’re going to see,” she said. “If anything goes wrong, you have it, rather than you don’t have it.”

Mary Meehan

Health officials in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia say the number of overdose deaths related to the opioid crisis continued to rise in 2017 as state data began to reflect the fatalities related to the powerful drug fentanyl.

A new report from the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy found 1,565 died from drug overdoses last year, up 11.5 percent from 2016.

Fentanyl played a factor in more than half of the overdose cases in which a toxicology report was available.

Legislators grilled representatives from five major opioid distributors Tuesday on how painkillers flooded West Virginia under their watch.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing came as part of an investigation into why Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, McKesson, Miami-Luken and H.D. Smith failed to report suspiciously large orders of opioid painkillers at the beginning of the addiction crisis.

Opioid Emergency Extended

Jan 22, 2018
Mary Meehan

Acting Health And Human Services Secretary Eric Hargan signed an order Friday to extend the public health emergency for 90 days. A post on the agency’s website, cited the continued consequences of the opioid crisis.


Aaron Payne | Ohio Valley ReSource

Imagine living and working somewhere designed to fit a couple hundred people. Now picture that same space crammed with twice that number. Madison County, Kentucky, Jailer Doug Thomas doesn’t have to imagine it. He lives it.

“I’m doing all that I can with what I have to work with, which is not a lot,” he said. “Because we’re a 184 bed facility with almost 400 people.”

 

Opioid Emergency: What the Ohio Valley Needs to Combat Crisis

Aug 21, 2017
Mary Meehan | Ohio Valley ReSource

The opioid crisis gripping the Ohio Valley is now, according to President Donald Trump, a national emergency.

But more than a week after the president made that announcement, state and local health officials in the region told the Ohio Valley ReSource that they have little information about what that emergency declaration actually means or what additional tools it will provide.

Rebecca Kiger

The Trump administration’s top health official backed away from a presidential commission’s proposal to declare a national public health emergency to address the opioid crisis.

An emergency declaration could have big implications for the Ohio Valley, a region with some of the country’s highest addiction and overdose rates.

The top recommendation from President Trump’s commission on the opioid crisis was for the president to declare the opioid crisis a national public health emergency.   


J. Tyler Franklin

Paramedics and police are already in the hotel room when Kyle Simpson walks in.

“What happened?” he asks.

A 37-year-old man in the room is barely conscious–just revived by the overdose reversal medication Narcan.


Rebecca Kiger

Advocate-Messenger

Some of the most riveting comments came during the Lexington Foum Thursday came from Alex Elswick.

He said the use of pain pills for wisdom teeth surgery turned into a four year addiction.  After starting with pills, Elswick said he only used heroin for six months before finding himself homeless in Dayton, Ohio, shooting up under a bridge. Elswick called his parents from a pay phone. “I’ve been kicked out of a treatment center.  I need help,” he told them.


Mary Meehan/Ohio Valley ReSource

Sitting on top of the Bible on Pastor Brad Epperson’s desk at the Clay City First Church of God is a list of goals for his small congregation written in a looping cursive hand.


Kentucky.com

Jim Gray is halfway through a second term as Lexington Mayor. The Glasgow native and construction business veteran just completed an unsuccessful attempt to unseat U.S. Senator Rand Paul. 


AVOL

 

AIDS Volunteers Inc, of Lexington, has secured a $100,000 grant from the Elton John Foundation.  A large portion of the money will be used to purchase a mobile outreach vehicle that will provide HIV and Hepatitis C testing in Eastern and Central Kentucky. 

 


Kentucky Department of Transportation

The heroin epidemic is increasing the number of impaired drivers on Kentucky roads and law enforcement officials are being trained this week to better cope with the problem.


Jeff Young/Ohio Valley ReSource

The opioid epidemic is on the agenda for political campaigns from the presidential race down to the local level in the Ohio Valley region. Election Day could shape the response to the crisis in states with some of the nation’s highest rates of addiction and overdoses.


Aaron Payne/Ohio Valley ReSource

The sound of sirens in Cabell County, West Virginia, has a good chance of indicating an overdose these days.

The county’s Emergency Medical Service had responded to 622 overdose calls this year as of September 24, according to Emergency Services Director Gordon Merry. Last year it was more than 900 overdoses, which surpassed the total of the previous three years combined.