addiction

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A new Kentucky program is asking businesses to overlook the stigma of addiction when hiring or retaining employees. 

Faced with a low workforce participation rate and a high rate of drug abuse, the state recently launched the Opioid Response Program for Businesses.  The initiative will work with employers to provide free audits of human resources policies and identify how companies can better assist employees through recovery. 

Beth Davisson heads the Kentucky Chamber Workforce Center and says the goal of the new program is to change the culture to treat addiction like any other illness.


Government officials are bickering over hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements paid by Big Pharma, stemming from the nation's deadly opioid epidemic.

The pharmaceutical industry paid out more than half a billion dollars over the last year alone. All sides expect the scale of settlements to grow fast as more cases go to trial.

A Growing Recovery: Food Service And Farming Jobs Provide A Path Out Of Addiction

May 20, 2019
Brittany Patterson

It’s lunch hour, and Cafe Appalachia is bustling.

Located in South Charleston, West Virginia, the former church turned restaurant has a funky, yet calming vibe. Twinkle lights and mismatched dining room sets dot the space. For $8 to $10 a plate, diners can enjoy a locally-sourced meal. The menu today is apple sage pork tips, spiralized zucchini (or “zoodles”), roasted broccoli, and a salad of spinach grown just a few miles away.

Autumn McCraw helped prepare today’s meal. The 35-year-old Charleston resident sports a maroon apron and greets every customer with a smile. Her days here typically start around 8 a.m.


Lifeskills, Inc.

Two behavioral healthcare organizations that serve a combined 18 southern and western counties in Kentucky are merging.

Lifeskills, Inc. and the Pennyroyal Center announced the move Tuesday.

The new combined organization will continue to provide addiction treatment, mental health, and developmental disability services at all 26 service locations it currently operates.

Lifeskills President and CEO Joe Dan Beavers said the merger builds on years of informal partnerships between the two groups.

Aaron Payne

The Appalachian Regional Commission has awarded more than two million dollars to expand addiction treatment and recovery resources for women in rural regions of the Ohio Valley hit hard by the opioid crisis.

Ohio University received $1,100,000 for the Appalachian Recovery Project in Athens County, Ohio. WestCare Kentucky, Inc., received $1,136,000 for the Judi Patton Center for Families project in Pikeville, Kentucky.

The funding comes from the ARC’s POWER Initiative, which was intended to boost economic development in regions affected by the decline of the coal industry.


Mary Meehan | Ohio Valley ReSource

The Ohio Valley has received nearly $60 million in additional federal funds to help combat the opioid epidemic.

Kentucky received $16,431,436, Ohio $29,122,692 and West Virginia $14,630,361. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the funds as a supplement to the first-year State Opioid Response, or SOR, grant awards.

drugfree.org

A two-day workshop in Henderson, Kentucky on March 22 and 23 will offer education and training on how to reduce the impact of addiction on children.

The workshop is being hosted by marriage and family therapist Tamara James, who said the workshop is appropriate for family members, educators, foster parents and anyone who works with elementary, middle and high school youth.

"Day one of the workshop is going to be a discussion and education on how addiction impacts the family and the resulting childhood effects and trauma that can get passed down from one generation to the next if healing or intervention does not occur,” said James.

Political Feud Complicating Kentucky's Fight Against Opioids

Mar 6, 2019
J. Tyler Franklin

For every 100,000 people in Kentucky, 23 are killed by opioid overdoses — nearly double the national rate. But a political feud is complicating the state's effort to hold drug companies accountable for their part in the epidemic.

Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear and Republican Gov. Matt Bevin are fighting over Beshear's attempt to hire private attorneys to battle the drug companies. Beshear is running for governor, and Bevin is the man he could face in the general election.

Flickr/Creative Commons/Mohamed ElGohary

The nation's opioid crisis may be getting the headlines, but a southern Kentucky drug enforcement officer says a larger issue in the region is methamphetamine.

Tommy Loving, director of the Bowling Green-Warren County Drug Task Force, says a more potent version of meth being smuggled into Kentucky from Mexico is putting local meth labs out of business.


Mary Meehan | Ohio Valley ReSource

A number of towns and counties in our region have adopted needle exchange programs in recent years as a way to combat rising levels of H.I.V and hepatitis C.

Barren County, Kentucky, began its needle exchange program in March, and has so far received more than 1,300 dirty needles from intravenous drug users.

Stephanie Dickerson has seen the Barren County needle exchange progress from being an idea met with skepticism to a reality. She works in health education at the Barren River District Health Department, and is based in Barren County. She helped the department’s director and epidemiologist lobby Barren County and Glasgow city governments to approve a needle exchange.


Ryland Barton

Attorney General Andy Beshear has filed a lawsuit against another painkiller manufacturer, saying that the company fueled Kentucky’s drug epidemic through aggressive marketing and fraud.

The suit claims that Arizona-based Insys Therapeutics gave kickbacks to doctors who prescribed its products and used fraudulent tactics to get more people prescribed, including falsifying medical histories.

Beshear said the company’s fentanyl-based mouth spray Subsys was only approved for cancer patients but the company aggressively marketed the pain medication to get more patients prescribed.

Bill Ambrose, Your Voice Ohio

An Ohio-based collaborative thinks journalists can play a bigger role in solving the region’s opioid crisis. The effort starts with listening to people in some of the hardest-hit communities.

A group of about 50 people gathered in a small building at the fairgrounds in Marietta, Ohio, to share their thoughts on the region’s opioid crisis with local journalists.

Some have studied addiction for years. Others have only experienced it through a loved one. And some, like Washington County resident Jackson Patterson, have seen both sides of the epidemic.


It's hard enough for employers to find workers to fill open jobs these days, but on top of it, many prospective hires are failing drug tests.

The Belden electric wire factory in Richmond, Ind., is taking a novel approach to both problems: It now offers drug treatment, paid for by the company, to job applicants who fail the drug screen. Those who complete treatment are also promised a job.

WFPL

A new poll shows a significant drop in the number of Kentucky adults who say they’ve been prescribed pain pills.

The Kentucky Health Issues Poll says 34 percent of adults in the state say they got prescriptions for pain medicine over a five-year period leading up to, and including, 2017.

That’s a drop of 21 percentage points from a similar poll taken in 2011.

Unsealed Lawsuit in Tennessee: Opioid Firm Placed Profits Over People

Jul 6, 2018
Creative Commons

A newly unsealed lawsuit by Tennessee's attorney general says the maker of the world's top-selling painkiller directed its salesforce to target the highest prescribers, many with limited or no pain management background or training.

Citing the public's right to know, Attorney General Herbert Slatery said Thursday that OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has dropped its previous efforts to shield details of the 274-page lawsuit in state court. The Tennessee Coalition for Open Government and the Knoxville News Sentinel had also requested that the lawsuit's records become public.

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