opioid epidemic

State and health leaders met at an Indianapolis hospital Monday to announce a new project to help pregnant Hoosier mothers who are addicted to opioids, the effort expands a pilot to reduce neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS.

NAS happens when a baby is exposed to drugs in the womb.  Providers at Community East Hospital addressed this issue in response to the rise in cases that they were seeing says OBGYN Anthony Sanders. 

Sheila Dhand treats a lot of people who might not step foot in a health clinic or hospital — until an emergency.

"People don't want to show just anybody their wound," Dhand says. "A lot of time when talking about wounds, we're talking about drug use. And those things are so taboo."

Jake Harper/ Side Effects Public Media

New research finds that fentanyl is far more common than heroin in overdose deaths in Indianapolis and that blacks are particularly affected.

In 2017, nearly half of the people who died from an overdose in Marion County, where Indianapolis is located, had fentanyl in their system. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times stronger than morphine.

Jake Harper / Side Effects

In a refrigerator in the coroner’s office in Marion County, Indiana, rows of vials await testing. They contain blood, urine and vitreous, the fluid collected from inside a human eye. In overdose cases, the fluids may contain clues for investigators. 


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 .

 

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