GET HELP NOW - 1-800-662-4357 (HELP)
The PA Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs has established a hotline for individuals and/or their loved ones who are seeking drug and alcohol treatment services. If you need assistance in finding a treatment provider or funding for addiction treatment, please call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or contact your local county drug and alcohol office.
Pa. state Rep. Edward Gainey joined other members of the PA-HOPE Caucus to talk about designating October 19th as “Lock ‘Em Up” Day in Pennsylvania.
Thank you for allowing me to address a joint session of the legislature.
Working together, we have had great success in moving Pennsylvania forward, but we still have a lot more work to do.
BUCKS COUNTY COURIER TIMES | BY MARION CALLAHAN
Parents from Bucks County’s How to Save a Life Foundation go to Kensington at least twice a month to rescue drug users from the streets and get them into treatment. Since losing her son from addiction in 2006, Marti Hottenstein and her group have helped dozens of users find recovery.
TRIB LIVE | BY MEGAN GUZA
Pennsylvania’s widespread opioid epidemic, combined with controversial drug paraphernalia laws and the lack of needle exchange programs in rural areas, could spark a devastating and costly HIV outbreak, health experts fear.
HIV outbreaks have hit several parts of the country, including rural Scott County, Indiana, which could cost the state more than $100 million.
TRIB-LIVE | BY CHUCK BIEDKA
A deadly blend of cocaine and the powerful opioid fentanyl is appearing on Western Pennsylvania streets and autopsy tables, according to police, coroners and other experts.
The combination is a modern “speedball,” with stimulant and depressant drugs like the stuff that killed actor John Belushi in 1982 and thousands of others, said a UPMC addiction medicine specialist, Dr. Antoine Douaihy.
OBSERVER-REPORTER | BY TRISTA THURSTON
PITTSBURGH – On a chilly Valentine’s Day morning, Beverly Thornton dons gloves and a hospital gown and picks up a baby she’s been soothing for the last few hours. She’s wrapping up her three-hour shift as a “cuddler” in the neonatal intensive care unit at UPMC-Magee-Womens Hospital.
OBSERVER-REPORTER | BY KAREN MANSFIELD
At a time when they thought they would be spending their retirement traveling or pursuing hobbies, a growing number of grandparents find themselves instead raising grandchildren, a consequence of the opioid epidemic.
Across America, about 2.7 million grandparents have been thrown into the role of day-to-day caregiver – changing diapers, making lunches, carpooling and attending PTA meetings – because their adult children are struggling with opioid addiction.
THE CITIZEN’S VOICE | BILL WELLOCK
WILKES-BARRE — Amid flashing lights and Korn’s “Freak on a Leash” came the sobering stories of opioid addiction: records numbers of overdoses, a couple who overdosed with their children in their home, a pregnant woman charged after using drugs.
It was the beginning of a presentation from DJ Choices, a group that teaches students about the dangers of drug abuse.
LEHIGH VALLEY LIVE | SARA K. SATULLO
New data released by the CDC Tuesday shows America’s opioid epidemic is growing at an alarming rate and Pennsylvania is one of the hardest hit areas.
Nationally, in just one year, opioid overdoses jumped by 30 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control report.
TRIB LIVE | THERESA CLIFT
Allegheny County has hired a South Carolina law firm to explore whether the county should file a lawsuit against prescription opioid manufacturers, distributors and prescribers to recoup public money spent as a result of the opioid crisis.
The city of Pittsburgh also plans to hire the firm for the same purpose, pending City Council approval, officials said Tuesday.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE | RICH LORD
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is taking executive action to enter into a contract with the national plaintiffs’ firm Motley Rice, whose co-founder, Joe Rice, is among the lead counsel guiding hundreds of opioid-related lawsuits in federal court in Cleveland. Mayor Bill Peduto plans to send to city council legislation to do the same.
Allegheny County and the city of Pittsburgh plan to sign on with one of the law firms at the center of massive litigation against companies that made or distributed opioids, officials announced Tuesday.
LOS ANGELES TIMES | KAREN KAPLAN
For years, doctors turned to opioid painkillers as a first-line treatment for chronic back pain and aches in the joints. Even as the dangers of addiction and overdoses became clearer, the drugs’ pain-relieving benefits were still thought to justify their risks.
14.1% OF STUDENTS BELIEVED THERE WAS LITTLE-TO-NO RISK IN USING PRESCRIPTION DRUGS NOT PRESCRIBED TO THEM
24.3% OF STUDENTS SAID IT WOULD BE "SORT OF EASY" OR VERY EASY" TO GET PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
AN ESTIMATED 70% - 80% OF PENNSYLVANIA'S CRIMINAL OFFENDERS HAVE SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROBLEMS
ABOUT 80% OF INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE PROGRESSED TO HEROIN ORIGINALLY USED PRESCRIPTION PAIN MEDICATIONS
THE SCOPE OF THE CRISIS
In 2014, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), approximately 2,500 Pennsylvanians died from overdose of opioid drugs. The victims came from every corner of the state. According to the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4), opioid overuse and abuse cost the Commonwealth more than $12.2 million in hospitalization costs annually as of 2012.
There is broad consensus the opioid issue affects all groups of Pennsylvanians – not differentiating by race, region, religion, income or any other factor. Beyond the public health toll, opioids are straining prisons (70 to 80 percent of all jail sentences) and are costly (nationwide, more than $50 billion annually in treatment and lost productivity).
WHAT ARE OPIOIDS?
Opioids are a class of drugs derived from or pharmacologically similar to opiates. While these analgesics are the most effective pharmaceuticals for killing pain, they carry with them a significant risk of addiction. Some data suggest that 60 percent of prescription opioid deaths occur in patients with no history of substance abuse and who are only prescribed an opioid by one health care practitioner.
WHAT IS HEROIN?
Heroin is an opioid pain killer. It is also used less commonly as a cough suppressant and as an antidiarrhoeal. Heroin is used as a recreational drug for its euphoric effects. Frequent and regular administration is associated with tolerance and physical dependence. In some countries it is also given to long-term users as a form of opioid replacement therapy alongside counseling.