opioid crisis

Report: Amid Crisis, Doctors Are Writing Fewer Opioid Prescriptions

Jul 12, 2018
Blue Cross Blue Shield Assocation

Prescriptions for opioids fell 29 percent nationwide from 2013 to 2017, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Casey Measure Aims To Help Grandparents Stepping In To Take Care Of Kids

Jul 12, 2018
Annette John-Hall / WHYY/Keystone Crossroads

Juanita Cox didn’t expect to become a parent in her 60s. But, six years ago, she took her grandchildren — now ages 14, 12, 7 and 5 — into her North Philadelphia home.

Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education, and Research

The virtual reality simulation “Opioid Rescue” opens with an unconscious man lying on a basement floor next to an empty syringe.

“The first thing I’m going to do is try to talk to him and see if he’s conscious,” said Grace Mueller, an intern at the University of Pittsburgh’s Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education, and Research, also known as WISER.

“Are you OK? Wake up!” a female voice asked the unconscious man.

“It seems like he’s not responding so I’m going to try and shake his shoulders,” she said.

Patrick Semansky / AP

In January, 39-year-old Damian Chadwick died at a Bethel Park barbershop a little before 2 p.m. According to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner, the overdose death was due to a combination of cocaine, alcohol and the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

As the opioid epidemic rages on, more and more places from libraries to Goodwill stores are keeping the anti-overdose drug naloxone on hand. 

Since September, all YMCAs of Greater Pittsburgh have had somoene on duty who’s trained to administer naloxone, which reverses the effects of an overdose by restarting a person’s breathing.

‘Critical Moment’ For Firms Amid Retirements, Opioid Crisis

Jun 4, 2018
Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

For the first time since the recession hit a decade ago, the demand for workers is steady.

Brett Sholtis / Transforming Health

York County Solicitor Glenn Smith knows the county coroner's phone number by heart. He calls often to get the most recent number of drug overdose deaths, a number that increases almost every day. 

"As of today?" said York County Coroner Pam Gay. "Twenty-two confirmed, another 25 suspected... We just had two this morning."

York County has been hit hard by the opioid crisis, with 176 overdose deaths last year. It is one of 17 Pennsylvania counties to sue Purdue Pharmaceuticals and other companies that make prescription opioids.

Administración Nacional de la Seguridad Social / Flickr

Seven out of 10 babies born to mothers with Hepatitis C at Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC are not screened for the virus, which can cause serious liver damage.

The information comes from a new study from the University of Pittsburgh, published last week in the journal Pediatrics, which looked at children who continued to receive pediatric care from UPMC through their second birthday.

Barry Sweet / AP

The opioid crisis has prompted a reckoning with the devastating effects of joblessness and isolation throughout rural and post-industrial America.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

According to the office of U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), 100,000 children in the commonwealth are raised by their grandparents. This is due in part to drug addiction, which can leave some parents unable to take care of their kids.

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr


In January, Gov. Tom Wolf addressed the blight of opioid addiction by issuing a statewide disaster declaration. But those declarations, which are more commonly used for natural catastrophes, expire after 90 days. On Tuesday, Wolf said he intends to renew it.

Toby Talbot / AP

With more than 650 drug fatalities in 2017, Allegheny County broke the record for fatal overdoses set the previous year, which in turn broke the record established in 2015.

Susan Walsh / AP

The Justice Department will support Pennsylvania officials seeking lawsuits against manufacturers and distributors of powerful opioid painkillers, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday.

Sessions said it’s the first action by the newly formed Prescription Interdiction Litigation task force, which he said will be able to pull a medical professional's license if investigators find they are prescribing above legal limits.

Cliff Owen / AP Photo

Testing stamp bags seized by law enforcement can give almost real-time insight into what drugs are circulating in the community before a public health emergency hits.

Matt Rourke / AP

One of Governor Tom Wolf's potential gubernatorial rivals is taking issue with a 90-day emergency declaration he issued in response to mounting opioid overdose deaths.

Tim Betler / UPMC

A new combined 27-bed addiction rehabilitation-detox facility will soon open at UPMC McKeesport.

Mel Evans / AP

*UPDATED: Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 at 4:35 p.m. 

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has declared Pennsylvania's opioid addiction epidemic a public health emergency and ordered a command center set up to treat the crisis like it would a natural disaster.

Opioid Crisis, Redistricting On State Lawmakers' 2018 Agenda

Jan 5, 2018
Matt Rourke / AP

There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical that the Pennsylvania Legislature will accomplish much in 2018.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh City Council will bid farewell to two of its own Tuesday. Council member Natalia Rudiak is stepping down after deciding not to run for a third term, and Council member Dan Gilman is leaving to become chief of staff to Mayor Bill Peduto.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

 

When 22-year-old Kristian Trump Goerman died of a drug overdose in January, she left behind two young children. Trump Goerman had long battled an opioid addiction, and child welfare officials had removed 4-year-old Cameron and 1-year-old Layla May from her care about a year before her death.

Carolyn Kaster / AP

Elevated levels of violent crime in the region prompted Pittsburgh’s FBI field office to launch a Violent Crimes Task Force this week. Federal data show that Pittsburgh and surrounding counties are experiencing higher levels of violent crime, on average, than the rest of the state and country.

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

In an effort to combat the opioid crisis, the state has distributed more than 27,000 doses of naloxone to 59 counties across the commonwealth. The Allegheny County Health Department received 2,100 doses that will be delivered to local police, EMTs and other first responders.

Toby Talbot / AP

As part of the effort to fight opioid addiction, Pennsylvania state Sen. Jay Costa (D - Forest Hills) has proposed a bill that would allow courts to send people to substance abuse treatment at the request of family members.

Carla K. Johnson / AP

 

A series of community discussions and an interactive website featuring the stories of the opioid crisis will launch in Pennsylvania next year as part of a campaign to reduce the stigma associated with drug addiction.

Tony Talbot / AP

The death rate in Pennsylvania from drugs, alcohol and suicide could increase 46 percent over the next decade. That’s according to a new report released by Well Being Trust, a national foundation that aims to improve mental health. 

“We’re turning to more lethal means to address our pain,” said Well Being Trust chief policy officer Benjamin Miller. He said nationwide those deaths could jump by 60 percent over the next 10 years if current trends continue.

An-Li Herring / 90.5 WESA

*UPDATED  Nov. 3, 2017 at 12:32 p.m.

Pittsburgh's only contested city council race this year pits Democrat Anthony Coghill against Republican Cletus Cibrone-Abate for the District 4 seat.

Toby Talbot / AP

A southeastern Pennsylvania county sued 11 pharmaceutical companies Thursday for marketing tactics that county officials say misrepresent the dangers of long-term opioid usage while a national overdose crisis continues to kill tens of thousands of people annually.

Delaware County alleged in its complaint that the companies and three consulting physicians engaged in promotional campaigns that encouraged prolonged and widespread use of their powerful painkillers, despite knowing that in doing so consumers risked damaging health effects and addiction.

Tony Talbot / AP

One of the root causes of opioid addiction is over-prescription of addictive drugs.

A major reason it occurs is the practice of doctor shopping — when people visit five or more prescribers in hopes of getting drugs. 

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

For the first time since Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro took office in January, his office has filed charges of drug delivery resulting in death against an Allegheny County resident.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Pennsylvania could see more resources to combat the opioid crisis if President Donald Trump heeds a federal commission, which advised him earlier this week to declare a national emergency.