opioid epidemic

The opioid addiction crisis is getting worse, and it's often reported on in desperate terms. But to the people working on the front lines of the problem, there are known and proven approaches that can help. This series introduces you to these people and how they're tackling the issue in their communities — with hope, compassion and strength.

First, Do No Harm

Christine Herman

Aric Hartvig / WFYI

Syringe exchanges are a controversial concept. Even when they're successful at containing disease, they can be difficult to sell to the public. In Madison County, Indiana, residents' ethical concerns shut down a program, which was put in place to curb rates of hepatitis C.

For Addicted Doctors, Confidential Treatment That Works

Nov 6, 2017
The Pew Charitable Trusts

WARRIOR, Ala. — The day Dr. Arthur Green (not his real name) checked into his rustic cabin here at Bradford Health Services, he said he doubted he could beat his decadeslong struggle with alcohol and find joy again in treating patients. Three weeks later, he said, he was convinced otherwise.

Jake Harper / Side Effects

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said it’s past time for the U.S. to deal with the opioid epidemic.

Christie, who chairs the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, spoke Monday at the Indiana attorney general’s Prescription Drug Abuse Symposium in Indianapolis.

Gretchen Frazee / WTIU News

Surgeon General Nominee Jerome Adams’ confirmation hearing before a Senate panel Tuesday was a mostly collegial meeting, with the Indiana State Health Commissioner receiving praise from several members of the bipartisan panel.

Gretchen Frazee / WTIU News

Several weeks before Indiana’s state health commissioner Jerome Adams was nominated to replace Vivek Murthy as U.S. Surgeon General, Adams toured a detox center in Indianapolis with Justin Phillips, founder of Overdose Lifeline - a grassroots organization focused on preventing opioid deaths. “I asked him to accompany me to see first hand some of the treatment and recovery work that's being done within Indianapolis,” says Phillips .


Gage Skidmore / Flickr

Addiction experts are up in arms following remarks from Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, in which he referred to medication-assisted treatment for addiction as “substituting one opioid for another.”

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks Indiana among the states with the highest rates of hepatitis C infection, a virus that destroys the liver and leads to liver cancer. Indiana's rate is double the national average with 2 per 100,000 people affected. These people recently tested for and were diagnosed with hepatitis C.

Public Restrooms Become Ground Zero In The Opioid Epidemic

May 15, 2017
Håkan Dahlström / http://bit.ly/2pOfaKF

A man named Eddie threaded through the midafternoon crowd in Cambridge, Mass. He was headed for a sandwich shop, the first stop on a tour of public bathrooms.

“I know all the bathrooms that I can and can’t get high in,” said Eddie, 39, pausing in front of the shop’s plate-glass windows, through which we can see a bathroom door.

Ed Murray / http://murray.seattle.gov

Fueled by research conducted on such sites in other countries, the Massachusetts Medical Society's delegates voted to support studying a pilot program creating  a so-called "supervised injection facility," or SIF, in the commonwealth. 

Safe injection sites are designated areas where drug users can shoot up drugs under supervision of medical professionals, who can then intervene in the case of an overdose. They also provide clean needles and other supplies. If an SIF came to Boston, it would be the first safe injection space in the country.