Opioids

WAMC, Allison Dunne

Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney was in Orange County, New York Monday to announce legislation to combat online opioid sales. He spoke at the Middletown Police Department, alongside a woman whose son died from an overdose two years ago.

Vermont Blueprint for Health Hub and Spoke diagram
Vermont Department of Health

Vermont Governor Phil Scott and the state’s Secretary of Human Services were in Washington Tuesday to testify before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health.  Their focus was on the state’s “Hub and Spoke” treatment model that is getting more people into treatment for addiction.

Assemblyman D. Billy Jones announces funding to SPARCC with members (left to rigth) Connie Wille, John Bernardi, Jones, Michael Carpenter and Peter Trout
Pat Bradley/WAMC

New York State Assemblyman D. Billy Jones was in Plattsburgh this morning to announce funding for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery Coalition of Clinton County and new legislation to motivate businesses to hire people in recovery.

Senator Bernie Sanders holds student meeting on opioids and addiction at Burlington High School
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders held a student town meeting at Burlington High School late last week to discuss the addiction and opioid crisis.

Senator Bernie Sanders at Burlington High School student opioid forum
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders held a student town meeting at the Burlington High School Friday afternoon to discuss the opioid crisis.

wikipedia.org

The federal government is sending law enforcement teams to cities in five states, including New York and Massachusetts, to help stop the flow of heroin and synthetic opioids.

SPARCC business roundtable on addiction
Pat Bradley/WAMC

In a major speech this afternoon President Donald Trump will direct his Department of Health and Human Services to declare the opioid crisis a nationwide public health emergency. That will allow changes such as expanded access to medical services in rural areas.  The addiction crisis is affecting all sectors from emergency, health and law enforcement to families and counselors.  Recently the Substance Abuse Prevention and Recovery of Clinton County coalition held a roundtable to discuss the impact of the crisis on business.

Vermont has streamlined the process for becoming a substance abuse counselor as the state continues to address the opioid addiction crisis.

Office of National Drug Control Policy acting director Richard Baum
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The acting head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy is in Vermont this week to study the state’s response to the opioid crisis.  The nation’s “drug czar” says the Green Mountain State’s programs and efforts are models that can be emulated nationally.

Office of National Drug Control Policy acting director Richard Baum
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The White House "drug czar" says Vermont's opioid treatment system is an "incredibly valuable national model" that's being emulated across the country.

Oxycodone pills
Be.Futureproof/Flickr

The fight against the opioid epidemic has seen a variety of approaches, including changes to law enforcement policies and an increased focus on prevention. Now, a few counties in the Hudson Valley have filed suit against pharmaceutical companies. Dutchess County is the latest to allege the companies have used deceptive practices, leading to the crisis. And at least one other Hudson Valley county is considering filing suit.

Supervised Injection Sites Hotly Debated

May 22, 2017
Heroin
Matthew Kang, flickr

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30,000 opioid-related deaths were recorded in 2015 alone — devastating many communities across the country. Officials worry that current prevention methods are failing to curb the death roll. Now, many institutions are reevaluating their strategies. One idea put forward has been the introduction of supervised or safe injection sites, where addicts can go to inject street drugs in a clean, secure environment. WAMC News Intern John Cossee spoke to a number of medical professionals and campaigners to find out more about the contrasting opinions regarding safe injection.

Pittsfield Plans Needle Exchange Program

Mar 27, 2017
Todd Huffman/Flickr

The City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts met with the state’s Department of Public Health Commissioner last Friday to discuss the city’s newly planned needle exchange program. 

Picture of Heroin
Adobe Stock

A New Hampshire training program that teaches police officers and prosecutors how to treat drug overdoses as crime scenes is emerging as a model for other states grappling with the opioid crisis.

Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George
Chittenden County State's Attorney's office/Facebook

The prosecutor in Vermont's most populous county has asked a committee of health and law enforcement professionals to look at the possibility of setting up a safe injection site for heroin and other opioid users in order to reduce overdoses and get addicts more treatment.

WAMC, Allison Dunne

Democratic Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney was in Dutchess County Monday, reintroducing his bill to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic by creating pre-booking drug diversion programs. The idea is to allow police officers to use their discretion to divert individuals directly to treatment instead of booking them and processing them through the criminal justice system. Maloney made the announcement in the Dutchess County Stabilization Center, whose grand opening was last week.

Burlington opioid forum
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Opioid deaths in Vermont increased 38 percent in 2016 despite efforts by health, law enforcement and government officials to stem the crisis. Now, the city of Burlington has drafted 11 principles to guide its approach in dealing with the crisis.  Thursday evening, the mayor hosted a public forum to encourage public input on the principles before they are presented to the city council.

From left:  VT Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen, Mayor Miro Weinberger, State's Attorney Sarah George, Dr. Stephen Leffler, Chief Brandon del Pozo
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Burlington, Vermont Mayor Miro Weinberger announced a series of initiatives Thursday aimed at addressing the opioid crisis in the city.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

A frank discussion on heroin and opioid addiction was held in Washington County Wedneday night. The forum, moderated by District Attorney Tony Jordan, focused not only on the prevalence of opioid addiction in the Washington, Saratoga, and Warren County regions, but also moving firsthand accounts.

A former top federal prosecutor for Vermont who is the state's new commissioner of the Department of Public Safety says he expects the state's opiate epidemic will be a top priority of his office.

medication tablets
wikipedia commons

The state of Vermont has finalized rules governing how many opioid painkillers medical professionals can prescribe.

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and state Health Commissioner Harry Chen recently announced proposed changes to the Health Department’s rules that would severely restrict the prescribing of opioids for pain. Much of the outgoing governor’s tenure has been devoted to countering the heroin and opioid crisis.

NYS Senator Issues A Challenge For Drug Take-Back Day

Oct 22, 2016

Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, and there are more than 5,000 collection sites nationwide. As part of the effort, a New York state lawmaker in the Hudson Valley has issued a challenge.

More than 600 people were at the Strand Theatre in Plattsburgh Tuesday evening for a community forum on the prescription opioid and heroin addiction crisis.  The evening featured a guest expert on how the drugs affect the brain.

Lucas Willard / WAMC

The same day that musician Prince’s death was attributed to an overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, Director of National Drug Control Policy Michael Botticelli visited Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to advocate for policies that he says will address addiction by increasing access to treatment and the overdose reversal drug naloxone, improve prescribing practices, and support law enforcement and prevention strategies.

Prison Bars
Gemma Longman Flickr

Connecticut officials are planning to expand methadone treatment to prisoners across the state over the next year or so, in what authorities believe would be the first statewide prison program in the country to use the drug to help inmates avoid withdrawal symptoms and overdoses.

Kaushik Narasimhan/Flickr

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing in Washington yesterday titled “Attacking America’s Epidemic of Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse.”  It came as legislators consider the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.  Several of the witnesses that appeared at the hearing were from the Northeast, including New Hampshire’s senators and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin.

Picture of Governor Peter Shumlin
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin was among those who testified Wednesday before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the need for federal action to curb opiate and heroin addiction.

Photo of Governor Shumlin and health officials
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has called the opioid addiction crisis a priority since he made it the sole focus of his state of the state address in 2014.  Shumlin was at the University of Vermont Medical Center’s Day One treatment center today to announce more steps the state is taking to address the addiction crisis.

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Vermont will get $4 million during the next four years from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent overdose deaths caused by prescription opiate drugs.

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