opioids

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."

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

President Donald Trump on Thursday declared the opioid addiction crisis a "national emergency." Those welcoming the declaration hope it will soon lead to more federal investment in treatment and prevention programs. Meanwhile, Erie County lawmakers spent time Thursday hearing feedback from agencies, - including some whose funding proposals were turned down - on a plan to spend one million dollars for response programming.


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."

Philip Kirby says he first used heroin during a stint in a halfway house a few years ago, when he was 21 years old. He quickly formed a habit.

"You can't really dabble in it," he says.

Late last year, Kirby was driving with drugs and a syringe in his car when he got pulled over. He went to jail for a few months on a separate charge before entering a drug court program in Hamilton County, Ind., north of Indianapolis. But before Kirby started, he says the court pressured him to get a shot of a drug called Vivitrol.

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.

Several weeks before President Trump nominated Indiana's state health commissioner Jerome Adams to be the next U.S. Surgeon General, Adams toured the Salvation Army Harbor Light detox center in Indianapolis, Ind., the only treatment facility in the state for people without insurance.

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.

Republicans in both the House and the Senate are considering big cuts to Medicaid. But those cuts endanger addiction treatment, which many people receive through the government health insurance program.

National Public Radio

This month marks the halfway point in New York State's plan to end the AIDS epidemic by the year 2020. Although local health care officials say progress has been made, a new epidemic is threatening the effort.

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.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Members of the Erie County Legislature continue to discuss a proposal to provide $1 million for efforts against an ongoing opioid addiction crisis. But at Thursday's Health and Human Services Committee meeting, it was clear that lawmakers are divided on how the money should be spent, and how soon it may be spent.


National Public Radio

There has been another sudden surge in apparent drug overdoses in Erie County and in the surrounding counties: eleven cases between Saturday afternoon and Monday afternoon.

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.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Health officials working closely with an ongoing opioid addiction epidemic say the problem is not going away any time soon. But New York State is committing $213 million to help expand treatment, recovery and prevention programs with the hope the tide may soon turn.


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

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A new addiction center is open in Buffalo, one that was made possible with the support of a $1.75 million state grant. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul joined representatives of Lake Shore Behavioral Health to formally open the BestSelf Recovery Community and Outreach Center on Linwood Avenue.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Catholic Health is planning to relocate its STAR treatment center within the Town of Amherst. On Friday, a candidate for Amherst Town Supervisor suggested that while drug treatment centers are needed, the planned future site is the wrong place to put one.


Michael Mroziak, WBFO

In light of a recent spike in suspected opioid-related deaths in Erie County, an Erie County legislator is proposing an increase in funding to make treatment services more accessible to those who seek help but cannot afford it.


Marwan Elbliety

On the heels of the news announced Thursday that seven Erie County residents fatally overdosed on a deadly batch of heroin in the span of 24 hours, a national expert on opioid addiction was in Buffalo Friday to talk with healthcare workers about the growing epidemic.

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.

As the death toll rises, what to do about the continuing opioid epidemic? That was the question Monday night at Williamsville's Hyatt Place.

WBFO's Mike Desmond

As the sky darkened into evening, names rang out in front of Old Erie County Hall. They were the names of those who have died in the area's opioids epidemic, read during a memorial to help their families deal with death.

overdoselifeline.org

On a daily basis, neighborhoods across the country are hit with news of another fatal overdose caused by heroin or other opiates. However, often lost behind the news are the stories of families and other loved ones left behind.

Prescribed narcotic painkillers continue to fuel a nationwide opioid epidemic—nearly half of fatal overdoses in the United States involve opioids prescribed by a doctor.

Facebook

The city of Toronto is moving to address an opioid crisis that is crossing Canada. In the United States, it has already been described as the greatest drug crisis in American history, fueled by opioids like fentanyl. Across the continent, thousands of people are dying from overdoses. Recently in Vancouver, the city had the equivalent of nearly 130 overdose deaths in one month, the equivalent of four a day. That prompted the city's mayor to issue a warning to his counterpart in Toronto.


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