opioids | KERA News

opioids

It has the power to save lives by targeting opioid overdoses — something that kills more than 140 Americans every day. And now Narcan, the nasal spray that can pull a drug user back from an overdose, is being carried by all of Walgreens' more than 8,000 pharmacies.

Updated at 2:50 p.m. ET

President Trump declared a public health emergency to deal with the opioid epidemic Thursday, freeing up some resources for treatment. More than 140 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We are currently dealing with the worst drug crisis in American history," Trump said, adding, "it's just been so long in the making. Addressing it will require all of our effort."

"We can be the generation that ends the opioid epidemic," he said.

From Texas Standard:

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus recently formed a new committee to study the problem of opioid addiction in Texas. The Select Committee on Opioids and Substance Abuse is tasked with developing concrete principles and action items for lawmakers.

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., has withdrawn his name from consideration as America's drug czar, President Trump said Tuesday. Marino is stepping back days after reports that legislation he sponsored hindered the Drug Enforcement Administration in its fight against the U.S. opioid crisis.

The attorneys general of 41 U.S. states said Tuesday that they're banding together to investigate the makers and distributors of powerful opioid painkillers that have, over the past decade, led to a spike in opiate addictions and overdose deaths.

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Despite concerns about addiction and overprescription of opioids, the drugs are still considered an effective choice for acute or short-term pain. But the brain also can produce results just as effective.

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President Trump called the opioid crisis in the United States a national emergency last week, and Texas has joined a coalition of states to investigate the role pharmaceutical companies have played in creating and prolonging the epidemic.

From Texas Standard:

By now you’ve likely heard of fentanyl, one of the narcotics at the center of the nation’s opioid crisis. But now, authorities in Houston are issuing an urgent warning that goes beyond the narrative of addiction. Officials have found a powerful analogue of fentanyl, carfentanil, a drug so powerful that mere skin contact can lead to lethal exposure.

Texas Blows Bid For Funds To Combat Opioids, Tries To Keep Records Secret

Nov 20, 2016
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Faced with a rising death toll from opioid abuse, Texas public health officials in May decided to apply for a $1 million federal grant to purchase Naloxone, a drug that, if administered during an overdose, can save the life of a person addicted to heroin or pain pills. 

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Update, Oct. 12: The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is withdrawing its intent to classify Kratom, a leaf indigenous to Southeast Asia, as a Schedule 1 drug and opening a public comment period to last until Dec. 1.

Anti-Overdose Drug Becoming Easily Available In Texas

Jun 21, 2016
The Texas Tribune

Just before his 25th birthday, Miles McEntee died of a heroin overdose last June in the Austin apartment he shared with his younger sister. Kelly McEntee wonders if her son might still be alive if he or his sister, Taylor, had a dose of naloxone in the medicine cabinet.

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When they can’t get opioid painkillers, a growing number of addicts turn to anti-diarrhea medication like Imodium for a cheap high,  but with serious consequences. Some call it "the poor man's methadone."

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At least two North Texans ended up in the hospital after using a synthetic opioid called U-47700 at a recent party. One is in ICU. Other cases involving the drug across the country led to deaths. 

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Lindsey Davidson says finding heroin is Texas easy; finding the drug to reverse an overdose, that’s hard.

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In this edition of our series on real-life health issues, Vital Signs: Children suffering from pain. The Food and Drug Administration has approved OxyContin for use with children ages 11 through 16.