Opioid Epidemic

More than half of people say they've suffered lower back pain in the past year, according to the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll.

That's not a surprise; low back pain is very common, and one of the biggest reasons that people seek medical care. But people told us that they're making very different choices in how they treat that pain, with some stark differences among age groups and income levels.

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. 

Innocent Coppieters/via Flickr

Scott County, Indiana, was hammered in spring 2015 with an outbreak of HIV spread by intravenous drug users sharing needles. It was a wake-up call for the county about its opioid problem, an epidemic playing out in similar places all over the United States.

Michigan Considers Opioid Abuse Instruction In Schools

Mar 29, 2017
David Marvin/via Flickr

Michigan lawmakers are considering requiring mandatory opioid abuse education in public schools as part of a package of bills aimed at combatting the addiction and overdose epidemic in the state.

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