WYSO Dayton Listeners Ask: How To Help A Loved One Struggling With Addiction

The opioid epidemic has touched the lives of thousands of people across the Miami Valley. As part of our coverage of the crisis, WYSO wanted to know what our listeners wanted to know. We collected dozens of questions, a lot of them from people wondering how best to help a loved one struggling with addiction or recovery, and how to find support for themselves.

We posed some of the questions to participants at a meeting of Dayton support group Families of Addicts or FOA. For WYSO News, Community Voices producer Jason Reynolds brings us a taste of what people at the meeting had to say.

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Insurance rules make it harder to treat opioid use disorder

Insurance industry cost-control measures may be worsening the nation’s opioid epidemic by limiting access to a key medication that treats addiction, according to a research letter published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Despite the medical profession’s growing acceptance of the need for medications for addiction treatment that give hope to people suffering with opioid use disorder, a study conducted by clinician-scientists at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, found that insurance rules increasingly limited the use of buprenorphine among Medicare beneficiaries between 2007 and 2018.

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Even in best-case scenario, opioid overdose deaths will keep rising until 2022

In the nation’s opioid epidemic, the carnage is far from over.

A new projection of opioid overdose death rates suggests that even if there is steady progress in reducing prescription narcotic abuse across the country, the number of fatal overdoses — which reached 47,600 in 2017 — will rise sharply in the coming years.

By 2022, these deaths would peak at around 75,400, and begin to level off thereafter, according to the new forecast.

And that’s the rosiest scenario. Under conditions that are only slightly less optimistic, the U.S. could see 81,700 opioid overdose deaths per year by 2025.

If the supply of prescription painkillers stops declining and there are other setbacks, researchers predict that yearly opioid overdose deaths could rise as high as 200,000 per year by 2025.

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Google combats opioid epidemic through providing disposal locations on Google Maps

Google is launching a new effort in the fight against the nation’s opioid crisis.

The tech giant is partnering with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, CVS, Walgreens and state governments to display local drug disposal locations in Google Maps.

By entering searches such as “drug drop off near me” or “medication disposal near me,” users will be able to find permanent disposal spots at local pharmacies, hospitals or government buildings to dispatch of unneeded medication. The program will start with 3,500 locations nationwide.

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Foster care system struggles to keep pace with opioid epidemic – Dayton OH

As the opioid crisis spread across the Miami Valley, it took a tragic toll on many of the region’s youngest residents — forcing more children into foster care and exposing many to severe trauma.

County agencies have struggled to recruit and train enough foster parents, at times sending children from Montgomery County to homes as far away as Arkansas and Missouri. Taxpayer costs have risen as the children required longer stays in foster or group homes, and needed more intensive care.

The Dayton Daily News’ Path Forward project is seeking solutions to the region’s biggest challenges, including how we recover from the opioid crisis. This story digs into how children have been hurt and examines potential solutions to make sure we don’t lose a generation of kids to addiction.

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By Katie Wedell, Staff Writer

Young businesswoman discussing with businessman at office.

Addiction professionals urge employers to work with people in recovery

With the workforce small and the number of people in recovery on the rise, people who treat and coach substance abusers say the time has come for hiring managers to see people in recovery as an opportunity and not a threat.

There is fear on both sides, says Marc Burrows, program manager for Challenges Inc., an addiction outreach service. Employers are worried about liability and employees “are terrified” of being found out, he said.

“In most cases, people in recovery are too scared to inform their employer of their addiction. Rightfully so, due to the stigma and discrimination that often exists,” Burrows said. “People in recovery might think that their employer would see them as a liability.”

But according Rich Jones of FAVOR Greenville, it may be at least as risky to hire someone with no apparent history of drug abuse and recovery.

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Two crises in one: As drug use rises, so does syphilis

Public health officials grappling with record-high syphilis rates around the nation have pinpointed what appears to be a major risk factor: drug use.

“Two major public health issues are colliding,” said Dr. Sarah Kidd, a medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead author of a report issued Thursday on the link between drugs and syphilis.

The CDC study shows a large intersection between drug use and syphilis among women and heterosexual men. In those groups, reported use of methamphetamine, heroin and other injection drugs more than doubled from 2013 to 2017.

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Many Addiction Centers Lack Anti-Opioid Meds: Study

Although the U.S. opioid epidemic dates back more than a decade, only 6 percent of treatment centers in 2016 offered the three medications approved to treat opioid addiction, new research reveals.

And only about a third offered even one of the three recommended drugs, the study found.

“The country is dealing with an opioid overdose death epidemic,” said study lead author Dr. Ramin Mojtabai, a professor of mental health at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore.

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By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

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Health plans don’t want patients on opioids. So what are they doing for pain?

The national effort to curb the opioid crisis faces another big potential obstacle — insurers who won’t pay for less-addictive ways to control patients’ pain.

Patients seeking other pain treatment options often find that their insurers won’t foot the bill or are forcing them to jump through maddening hoops to get coverage. Experts in and out of government worry that this will make it more difficult to reverse the deadly opioid crisis that killed more than 47,000 people nationwide in 2017, even as doctors cut back on opioid prescribing and state and federal governments step up efforts to prevent and treat addiction.

“The epidemic isn’t just about how easy opioids have been to come by. It’s also about how hard it is to access alternatives,” said Caleb Alexander, co-director of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness. “No one ever died of an overdose of physical therapy.”

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Buprenorphine Suboxone Bottles

Opioid Prescribing Trends and the Physician’s Role in Responding to the Public Health Crisis

The opioid overdose epidemic affects millions of Americans and their families. Nationwide polls reveal that 49% of respondents personally know someone who is or has been addicted to prescription opioid medication. In 2017, more than 49 000 people died in the United States of opioid overdoses, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This crisis has spanned different phases, beginning with increased overdose deaths from prescription opioids, which then evolved to increased heroin overdose deaths, and most recently manifesting as a dramatic spike in overdose deaths from illicitly manufactured fentanyl and fentanyl analogs.

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