Drugs

Jon McHann, 56, got started on prescription opioids the way a lot of adults in the U.S. did: He was in pain following an accident. In his case, it was a fall.

"I hit my tailbone just right, and created a severe bulging disc" that required surgery, McHann says.

McHann, who lives in Smithville, Tenn., expected to make a full recovery and go back to work as a heavy haul truck driver. But 10 years after his accident, he's still at home.

A Niagara Falls man is facing up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine after pleading guilty to heroin charges.

National Public Radio

John Kapoor has been arrested in Arizona, charged with leading a nationwide conspiracy to bribe doctors and pharmacists to widely prescribe an opioid cancer drug for people who did not need it. You may not recognize the name, but the drug company founder is a billionaire and University at Buffalo graduate for which UB's School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is named.

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.

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.

Julie Eldred has been struggling with addiction to opioids for more than a decade and she says the criminal justice system punishes her for it.

Eldred, a part-time pet caretaker in Acton, Mass., was put on probation last year for theft. She knew staying drug-free would be tough — especially at first, when she was going through opioid withdrawal. But, she says, she didn't have much of a choice.

University at Buffalo

With modern medicine creating drugs that can be misused for addiction, and opioid drugs for medical care sometimes leading to addiction, many health-related professions are looking hard at prescriptions, prescribing practices and education.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to give police and prosecutors new tools in the fight against the opioid crisis.

National Public Radio

A new state grant will help the University at Buffalo train physicians and nurses on how to medically treat people who are addicted to opioids.

While the numbers make it clear that an opioid epidemic is raging across the United States, the origins of that epidemic are subject to debate. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman - and 40 of his fellow state attorneys general - want to fully explore the role played by four major manufacturers of prescription opioids.

NYS getting $25M for mobile addiction centers

Sep 15, 2017
Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul's office

New York State is getting $25 million in federal funds to help fight the opioid addiction epidemic.

Erie County Family Court

Having enough people to foster each child in need has been a longtime problem, complicated by couples who both work. In fact, earlier this year Erie County ran out of foster parents, forcing kids to move as far as Jamestown to a new family who could care for them.

Ontario Drug Policy Research Network

Provincial pushback on opioid overdoses and deaths has apparently led to a major drop in prescribing the potentially deadly drugs in Ontario. A new study may include lessons for the United States.

Catholic Health

Catholic Health officially gave up Monday and told residents of a small Amherst neighborhood there would not be a drug treatment clinic next door. The new plan is to shift to an office park in Audubon.

President Trump says he is ready to declare the nation's opioid crisis "a national emergency," saying it is a "serious problem the likes of which we have never had." Speaking to reporters at the entrance to his Bedminster, N.J., golf club, where he is on a working vacation, Trump promised "to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis."

Update 3:35 pm August 10: Two days after making a few general remarks about the opioid crisis, President Trump on Thursday called it "a national emergency" and said his administration would be drawing up papers to make it official.

"We're going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis," Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, N.J.

In Prince George's County, Md., every first responder carries naloxone, the drug that can reverse an opioid overdose.

"We carry it in our first-in bags," says Bryan Spies, the county's battalion chief in charge of emergency services. "So whenever we arrive at a patient's side, it's in the bag, along with things like glucose, aspirin and oxygen."

WBFO's Chris Caya

Gov. Andrew Cuomo should veto a bill passed by the New York State Legislature that blocks local governments from billing pharmaceutical companies to dispose of unused prescription drugs. That is the position of Erie County Legislator Patrick Burke, who is sponsoring legislation to hold drug companies accountable.

Erie County legislators are still grappling with how to spend a half-million dollars to quickly combat the lethal opioid epidemic.

The U.S. is in the midst of an opioid crisis. Millions of Americans are addicted to the powerful prescription painkillers, and tens of thousands are dying each year from overdoses.

A new report out Thursday offers a bit of hope: Doctors are prescribing opioids less often, and the average dose they're giving patients has dropped, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

WBFO's Avery Schneider

The American Medical Association recently endorsed pilot facilities for supervised injection of drugs. It is a response to the opioid epidemic.

New York State may soon have a new way to prosecute dealers who sell heroin or opioids that result in a lethal overdose.

Erie County Sheriff's Department

One of the largest drug money seizures in Erie County history went down this Thursday morning.

For nearly four years now, an unusual coalition of Republicans and Democrats has worked to reduce mandatory prison terms for many federal drug crimes.

But that bipartisan movement may be shallower than it appears. Indeed, Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who both supported a cut-back on some drug punishments, are preparing a bill that would create tough new penalties for people caught with synthetic opioid drugs. Grassley chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Feinstein is the panel's ranking member.

The number of new Hepatitis C cases leaped nearly 300 percent from 2010 to 2015, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the CDC points to the likely culprit behind the spike in cases of the infectious disease: the use of heroin and other injection drugs.

The Drug Enforcement Administration has proposed hiring its own prosecutor corps to bring cases related to drug trafficking, money laundering and asset forfeiture — a move that advocacy groups warn could exceed the DEA's legal authority and reinvigorate the 1980s-era war on drugs.

Drug Policy Alliance

As Western New York and the nation deals with an opioid crisis, a group of drug reform advocates, former users and health care professionals have launched an effort to bring to New York State facilities where addicts can consume their drug of choice in a safe, secure and supervised environment.

A new report says Ontario is having as much a problem with opioids as New York State.

National Public Radio

A deadly batch of heroin is suspected in the deaths of seven Erie County residents in one day - the average number of overdose deaths in a week.

A police chase through South Buffalo has resulted in multiple injuries, including a drug suspect being chased.

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