opioid

Public Domain via Pixabay

Oklahoma’s foster care system has been beleaguered by high rates of abuse and neglect for years.

And, as The Tulsa World reports, much of that child abuse is due to Oklahoma’s high levels of meth addiction, with the state’s opioid addiction struggles adding to the problem in recent years.

From Texas Standard.

President Donald Trump has declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. The Texas Department of State Health Services says more than 1,100 Texans died from opioids in 2016. Cities and counties across the state have had to increase services to meet the demand.

A few years ago, Renea Molden’s doctors told her they wanted to take her off hydrocodone pills. 

“I was mad,” Molden says. “I’ll be honest. I was mad. I was frustrated.”

The 39-year-old woman from Kansas City struggles with pain caused by fibromyalgia, herniated spinal discs and degenerative disc disease. She says the three opioid pills a day that doctors wanted her to stop taking seemed to be the only way she could make it through work, go shopping or even fix dinner.

Goodfellow AFB

Potter County, Texas, which encompasses part of Amarillo, is considering launching a lawsuit against major drug companies.

As The Amarillo Globe-News reports, the county hopes to win back some of the money spent in the battle against the opioid scourge. Attorney Jack Walker has asked Potter County to join in the lawsuit being filed by his Dallas firm.

For the first time in its annual survey of rural America, the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that mortality rates of working-age adults are on the rise because of opioid and heroin overdoses.

Continuing longtime trends, rural areas are still seeing declining populations, the rebound from the Great Recession is slow and poverty remains a persistent problem, according to the USDA’s “Rural America at a Glance,” released Thursday.

Creative Commons

Last week, a bipartisan panel of legislators in Colorado supported a package of six bills aimed at preventing and treating the state’s opioid crisis.

As The Denver Post reports, the approach puts the state in the top tier for its response and has been boosted by a $35 million infusion from the federal government t test solutions to what President Donald Trump has labeled a national public health emergency.

Anecdotal evidence from prosecutors across the state indicates opioid abuse is growing in Kansas, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said, but he urged lawmakers not to forget the state’s ongoing methamphetamine problem.

Schmidt answered questions about the issue Thursday from a panel of lawmakers in Topeka.

CCO Creative Commons

A panel of bipartisan lawmakers in Colorado are proposing a package of bills aimed at curbing the state’s opioid crisis.

As The Denver Post reports, the panel is proposing limits on some prescriptions and more money for treatment and prevention programs in legislation that represents the state’s most extensive response to a dramatic increase  in drug overdose deaths in recent years.

A prescription drug monitoring program in Kansas will receive a federal grant worth more than $178,000 to help fight the opioid crisis.

The Kansas Board of Pharmacy oversees K-TRACS, a system for monitoring prescriptions for controlled substances.

Board Executive Secretary Alexandra Blasi says doctors, dentists and pharmacists who participate in the program report their prescription activity to the state to verify a patient’s history.

FUTUREPROOF / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The attorneys general from Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas, along with about three dozen others have served subpoenas on several opioid manufacturers to determine what role they might have played in the nation’s opioid epidemic. This after the coalition of attorneys general sent a letter asking the insurance industry to re-examine the way it may support over-prescription of the potentially deadly and addictive drugs.

U.S. Marine Corps / Wikimedia Commons

Opiates continue to ravage rural communities in Oklahoma, and the question of how to combat the problem is expected to dominate the 2018 legislative session.

As Oklahoma Watch reports, the state is doing some things right, but in other areas the response to the drug epidemic has lagged behind other states. Overdoses from methamphetamine and heroin have increased in recent years. In fact, last year, a record 899 Oklahomans died from drug overdoses.

Creative Commons

Kansas leaders are trying to get ahead of the opioid crisis in the Sunflower State before it grows as bad as it has in other parts of the country.

As The Hays Daily News reports, last week the Kansas Health Institute held a symposium on the issue. One overarching theme dominated the event: The opioid crisis is coming soon to Kansas.

Pixabay

In the last three years, 3,000 Oklahomans have lost their lives due to the opioid crisis.

Now, as the Enid News And Eagle reports, state Attorney General Mike Hunter is doing his best to rein in the scourge of opioids.

But he’s got an uphill battle.

In 2014, almost 10 million prescriptions for opioids were filled statewide - the equivalent of giving everyone in the state 50 pills.

Rural Areas Hit Hardest By Opioid Epidemic

Aug 2, 2017
FUTUREPROOF / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The opioid epidemic has hit rural areas like Morton County, Kansas harder than other areas, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control.

As The Wichita Eagle reports, the staff of the tiny Morton County Hospital in southwest Kansas has gotten good at identifying repeat customers: people who regularly show up looking for opioid pain medicines.

pexels.com

A new battlefront has opened up in the High Plains war against prescription painkiller abuse.

As KFOR reports, veterinarians have begun to keep an eye out for pet owners who may be using their pets’ prescriptions themselves.

Dr. Eli Landry, a vet in Seminole, Oklahoma, said he and his colleagues have noticed a new type of patient who comes in with a pet and requests a specific medication by name.

Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control

Last year, Oklahoma experienced a record number of drug overdoses, reports Oklahoma Watch.

In another gruesome precedent, methamphetamines were the biggest killer, for the first time ever. 2016 saw 952 from overdose deaths, and that number could reach closer to 1,000 as pending autopsies are finalized. The overdose number is almost 100 deaths higher than the previous record of 870 in 2014. Of the deaths, over a third occurred due to methamphetamines.

WKU / Creative Commons

The scourge of opiate addiction isn’t just affecting teens and adults in the heartland. According to a new study, infants are being exposed to opioids in the womb at a much faster rate in rural communities than in urban settings.

Futureproof / Flickr Creative Commons

Congress passed legislation last week that will go a long way toward fighting opioid abuse.

As The Rural Blog reports, the law will increase funding for medical research and speed up federal approval of new drugs that will help Americans struggling with addiction.

The bill now heads to President Obama’s desk. The president praised the law, saying “We are now one step closer to . . . helping people seeking treatment for opioid addiction finally get the help they need.”

Texas Tribune

Almost 3,000 Texans died from drug-related overdoses two years ago, and many of these were related to prescription opioid use.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named prescription drug abuse as the fastest-growing drug problem in the country.

FrankieLeon / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal government has announced it will distribute $53 million dollars to 44 states and four tribes to help fight opioid addiction, reports The Rural Blog.

washington.edu

pioid overdoses continue to take lives in rural America. To combat the problem, Oklahoma law enforcement agencies have been certified to administer an overdose rescue drug. The drug, known as naloxone, has already helped save the lives of 30 people in the state, reports KRMG.

fda.gov

Many states have recently limited prescriptions for opioids, after an increase in overdose deaths has rocked rural America. But the new opioid limits are putting small town doctors in an unenviable position. Physicians must now refuse to prescribe painkillers to patients who actually need them, reports The Rural Blog.