drugs

WFPL

A new poll shows one in four Kentuckians knows someone who has abused prescription pain drugs.

The Kentucky Health Issues Poll also showed a decrease in the number of adults in the commonwealth who were prescribed pain pills. In 2011, about half of adults had a pain pill prescription. The poll released this week shows that’s declined to one in three adults.

Beshear Sues Drugmaker For Deceptive Marketing Of Opioids

Apr 18, 2018
Ryland Barton

Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general has filed a fifth lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company for deceptive marketing of opioid-based painkillers.

Andy Beshear said he has filed a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and two of its subsidiaries.

Beshear said the companies claimed their opioid drugs were “rarely addictive” when used for chronic pain. He said the companies violated the state’s Consumer Protection Act and the Kentucky Medicaid and Kentucky Assistance Program fraud statutes.

Editor's note: Since this story was first posted, we have received word that Destini Johnson is regaining consciousness and is out of intensive care.

Last August, Destini Johnson practically danced out of jail, after landing there for two months on drug charges. She bubbled with excitement about her new freedom and returning home to her parents in Muncie, Ind. She even talked about plans to find a job.

As opioid-related deaths have continued to climb, naloxone, a drug that can reverse overdoses, has become an important part of the public health response.

When people overdosing struggle to breathe, naloxone can restore normal breathing and save their lives. But the drug has to be given quickly.

On Thursday, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued an advisory that encouraged more people to routinely carry naloxone.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Nearly one in three recent arrests by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration related to excessive opioid distribution by prescribers and pharmacies took place in Kentucky. The actions were part of a recent 45-day “surge” announced here by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in late January.

Diversion investigators, special agents, intelligence research specialists and task force officers focused efforts on sources that “dispensed disproportionately large amounts of drugs,” according to a Department of Justice news release. The surge spanned February and March.

Opioid Treatment Program Helps Keep Families Together

Mar 28, 2018

Velva Poole has spent about 20 years as a social worker, mostly in Louisville, Ky. She's seen people ravaged by methamphetamines and cocaine; now it's mostly opioids. Most of her clients are parents who have lost custody of their children because of drug use. Poole remembers one mom in particular.

"She had her kids removed the first time for cocaine. And then she had actually gotten them back," she says. But three months later, the mother relapsed and overdosed on heroin.

Melody Cashion rattles off the list of drugs she once needed just to function.

Lyrica, Gabapentin, methadone, oxycodone, valium.

There were more. But those were the every day ones.

Thinkstock

Kentucky’s Justice Secretary says he’s not giving up on criminal justice reforms becoming a reality during this year’s legislative session.

But John Tilley’s comments come as a reform bill is stalled in a House committee.

House Bill 396 is the result of suggestions made by a committee appointed by Governor Bevin to find ways to lower Kentucky’s incarceration rate, and increase opportunities for addicts to receive substance abuse treatment.

The current drug addiction crisis began in rural America, but it's quickly spreading to urban areas and into the African-American population in cities across the country.

"It's a frightening time," says Dr. Edwin Chapman, who specializes in drug addiction in Washington, D.C., "because the urban African-American community is dying now at a faster rate than the epidemic in the suburbs and rural areas."

There's more bad news about the nation's devastating opioid epidemic.

In just one year, overdoses from opioids jumped by about 30 percent, according to a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Updated on March 2 at 10:47 a.m. ET

The White House convened a summit on the opioid epidemic Thursday, where first lady Melania Trump said she is proud of the what the administration has already accomplished on the issue, but that "we all know there is much work still to be done."

Although he had not been expected to participate, President Trump briefly joined the event.

Creative Commons

Kentucky's Republican governor cannot force a law firm to give back $4 million it got for negotiating a settlement on behalf of the state with the maker of OxyContin, a judge ruled Monday.

Kentucky sued Purdue Pharma, makers of the addictive opioid-based prescription painkiller, in 2007. The case languished in the courts for nearly 10 years before former Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway settled the case for $24 million at the end of 2015, just a few days before he left office.

Kentucky Attorney General Sues Opioid Distributor

Feb 19, 2018

Kentucky's attorney general has filed another lawsuit against a pharmaceutical distributor linked to a pipeline inundating the state with highly addictive opioid painkillers.

Ohio-based Cardinal Health on Monday became Attorney General Andy Beshear's latest target. Based on its market share, Beshear says Cardinal Health distributed tens of millions of doses of prescription opioids in Kentucky during a yearlong period ending Jan. 31.

Becca Schimmel

A southern Kentucky judge said the cost of incarceration is changing the way Kentucky deals with drug offenders.

Warren Circuit Court Judge Steve Wilson said he’s seen a shift in how Kentucky’s legislators view incarceration for drug crimes. He said legislators are increasingly talking to him and other judges about alternatives to jail. He said the cost of keeping people behind bars has a lot to do with that shifting mindset.

Courtesy White House, Office of the First Lady

President Donald Trump outlined on Thursday his long-awaited plan to address the opioid crisis as a national public health emergency. Part of that plan was based on experiences in the Ohio Valley region.

In an address at the White House Thursday both President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump mentioned efforts in the Ohio Valley region to help infants affected by the crisis.

Trump said that a hospital nursery in West Virginia treats one in every five babies for symptoms of addiction.

Pages