drug addiction

A new report from Florida medical examiners finds fentanyl caused more deaths than any other drug in Florida last year.

Wilson Sayre / WLRN News

Local officials are raising concerns about drug use at hurricane shelters, saying they aren't equipped to care for addicts, unaccompanied minors and others with other medical needs.

 

Nearly 16,000 people in nine counties from Indian River to Miami-Dade evacuated to shelters during Hurricane Matthew. Six evacuees seeking refuge at a Delray Beach high school during Hurricane Matthew overdosed on drugs as the dangerous storm approached South Florida. Bags brought to shelters by evacuees are typically not searched.

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.

Florida service providers are wasting no time taking advantage of nearly $30 million in federal money for addressing the opioid epidemic.

bigjohn36 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

A South Florida drug treatment provider will spend the next 27.5 years behind bars for operating a multimillion-dollar health care fraud and sex trafficking scheme.

U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks handed down the sentence Wednesday at the Federal Courthouse in West Palm Beach. Kenneth “Kenny” Chatman, 47, of Boynton Beach, pleaded guilty in March to the charges.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Marie Villafaña said Chatman was a relatively small provider in the drug treatment industry, but he was, “the most dangerous.”

Addiction experts are up in arms over remarks by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in which he referred to medication-assisted treatment for addiction as "substituting one opioid for another."

Nearly 700 researchers and practitioners sent a letter Monday communicating their criticisms to Price and urging him to "set the record straight."

The number of new Hepatitis C cases leaped nearly 300 percent from 2010 to 2015, according to a report released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the CDC points to the likely culprit behind the spike in cases of the infectious disease: the use of heroin and other injection drugs.

A man named Eddie threads through the mid-afternoon crowd in Cambridge, Mass. He's 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," says Eddie, 39, pausing in front of the shop's plate glass windows, through which we can see a bathroom door.

ep_jhu/flickr

Governor Rick Scott has declared a Public Health Emergency and directed the state government to act to curb Florida's opioid epidemic. 

Gov. Rick Scott has declared a public health emergency across Florida for the opioid epidemic.

Deadly Fentanyl Drug Ignites Senate Debate

May 3, 2017

Grappling with a deadly drug scourge across the state, Florida senators Tuesday had an impassioned debate about whether the state should require mandatory-minimum prison sentences for fentanyl trafficking.

Peter Haden / WLRN

South Floridians poured into a community room at the West Palm Beach Police Department Monday for the first of four public workshops around the state on combating the opioid crisis.

The tour was announced in early April by Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Melissa McKinley summed up the feeling in the room.

Amanda Rabines

An overdose revival drug called Naloxone, commonly referred to as its brand name Narcan, can be bought over-the-counter in 14 states, but Florida is not one of them.

With the state’s overdose count increasing, the University of Miami’s IDEA Exchange Center, Florida’s first public clean syringe program, has recently been distributing the revival drug for free at its base location, in 1636 NW 7th avenue in Miami.

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Anita Elash

Amy Wright doesn’t use drugs anymore but when she did, she’d sometimes come to a narrow back alley in Toronto’s downtown core to shoot up heroin and morphine.

The alley is lined with enormous dumpsters and littered with trash. In Wright’s words, “It’s dark, it’s gray, it’s dim, it’s dirty. In the summer, you’ll really start to smell it because of the garbage, and you’ll smell the urine and, as you can see, there’s crap on the door.”

Peter Haden / WLRN

According to official records, more than 1,000 people in South Florida overdosed last year on opioids including heroin and carfentanil -- a drug so potent it’s used as an elephant tranquilizer.

The growing threat of the opioids epidemic is mobilizing law enforcement and community leaders to form new partnerships and collaborate in events such as last week's discussion hosted by Florida Atlantic University (FAU). 

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