opioid

Peter Haden / WLRN

State legislators came to Palm Beach County Tuesday to discuss the opioid crisis.

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The deadline is approaching for Florida’s governor to sign off on a bill aimed at tracking the use of addictive prescription drugs. Some medical professionals see the measure as key to fighting the opioid epidemic.

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

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.

Rowan Moore Gerety / WLRN

There are lots of ways to measure the recent spike in opioid overdoses in Miami-Dade County. You can look at the number of deaths from fentanyl—a potent drug often mixed with heroin sold in the street—which spiked from 13 in 2014 to nearly 300 just two years later, or at the even more powerful derivative carfentanyl, developed as an anesthetic for elephants, and which, by rights, should only be available at the zoo.

Law enforcement, health and education officials will appear at a Miami town hall meeting on the growing opioid abuse epidemic in South Florida.

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

Ryan Kelly/flickr

Calls are mounting for Gov. Rick Scott to declare of public health emergency in the wake of an estimated 4,000 deaths in Florida last year due to heroin and opioid overdoses.


Other states struggling with the problem - including Maryland, Alaska, and Virginia - have chosen to declare an emergency, enabling the release of additional funds for law enforcement and treatment.

 

A bill aimed at criminalizing the deadly drug fentanyl is heading to the Senate floor. The measure comes as the Legislature is struggling to respond to the state’s opioid crisis. But the plan has lawmakers questioning whether they should combat addiction with punishment or treatment.

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). 

House Cracking Down On Fentanyl, Drug Trafficking

Apr 21, 2017

As Florida tackles an uptick in opioid overdoses, state lawmakers passed a measure Thursday that seeks to toughen state drug trafficking laws.

Nearly 1.5 million Americans were treated for addiction to prescription opioids or heroin in 2015, according to federal estimates, and when those people get seriously hurt or need surgery, it's often not clear, even to many doctors, how to safely manage their pain. For some former addicts, what begins as pain relief ends in tragedy.

Bondi, Scott Seek Answers On Opioid Epidemic

Apr 12, 2017

Facing pressure to address drug overdoses across the state, Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi rolled out plans Tuesday for a series of workshops and gave support for legislation focused on opioids and drug abuse.

Surviving Opioids In The Fentanyl Era Is Tough

Apr 7, 2017

There’s a clear culprit in the rising drug overdose death count in Massachusetts — the synthetic opioid fentanyl. More powerful and more deadly than heroin, fentanyl has sparked a new set of survival rules among people who abuse opioids.

Both prescription and illegal opioids are driving a national spike in overdose deaths. According to the Centers for Disease Control, they were involved in more than 33,000 deaths in 2015. Florida has seen a dramatic increase in opioid-driven overdoses, up more than 20 percent.  Yet, lawmakers are still grappling with how to address the issue.

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