drug overdose

Jake Harper / Side Effects

The Indiana Senate has passed a bill requiring more complete reporting of overdose data from county coroners.

Life expectancy in the U.S. fell for the second year in a row in 2016, nudged down again by a surge in fatal opioid overdoses, federal officials report Thursday.

"I'm not prone to dramatic statements," says Robert Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the National Center for Health Statistics. "But I think we should be really alarmed. The drug overdose problem is a public health problem, and it needs to be addressed. We need to get a handle on it."

Pharmacists Slow To Dispense Lifesaving Overdose Drug Naloxone

Dec 21, 2017
Sarah Fentem / Side Effects Public Media

Gale Dunham, a pharmacist in Calistoga, Calif., knows the devastation the opioid epidemic has wrought, and she is glad the anti-overdose drug naloxone is becoming more accessible.

As Opioids Mix, More Naloxone Needed To Stop Overdoses

May 31, 2017
ADAPT Pharma / narcan.com

The overdose reversal drug naloxone is in high demand across Indiana. But the state is now seeing more mixes of opioids causing overdoses. That’s leading first responders to go through their supplies more quickly.

Overdoses caused by multiple types of opioids require larger or repeated doses of naloxone.

Jake Harper / Side Effects

When someone dies unexpectedly outside of a hospital in Marion County, Alfarena Ballew, chief deputy coroner, gets a call.

Federal data suggest illegally manufactured fentanyl, a drug that is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, is behind an increase in synthetic opioid deaths.

Details On Death Certificates Offer Layers Of Clues To Opioid Epidemic

Jun 1, 2016

Dr. James Gill walked through the morgue in Farmington, Conn., recently, past the dock where the bodies come in, past the tissue donations area, and stopped outside the autopsy room.

"We kind of have a typical board listing all of the decedents for the day," Gill said, pointing to the list of names on a dry-erase board. "Overdose, overdose, overdose, overdose, overdose. That's just for today."

Drug Cocktails Fuel Massachusetts' Overdose Crisis

Dec 10, 2015

In a brick plaza next to the Chelsea, Massachusetts city hall, Anthony, a bald but still-youthful man in grey sweats, tells me he spent the previous night in the hospital for what he says was his twelfth overdose.

Anthony and other users of illegal drugs agreed to speak to NPR for this story on the condition that we use only their first names. He blames his overdose on what his dealer told him was a particularly strong bag of heroin laced with the anesthesia drug fentanyl — or something like it.

Around the U.S., a worsening heroin epidemic has more and more cities turning to the anti-overdose drug naloxone to reduce deaths from abuse. Also known as Narcan, the medication blocks the effects of opioids and reverses the respiratory depression that occurs during an overdose.

Dr. Dan Budnitz demonstrates how a syringe is inserted into a flow restrictor to measure out a dose of medicine.
Bryan Meltz for Pro Publica

The Food and Drug Administration has endorsed the use of a safety device for bottles of children's medication containing liquid acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol.

Called a flow restrictor, the device fits into the top of a bottle to prevent kids from inadvertently squeezing or sucking out too much liquid. In high doses, acetaminophen can result in liver damage and even death.