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West Virginia Settles Lawsuit With Drug Distributor for $37 Million

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A major drug company has agreed to settle a lawsuit accusing it of contributing to the opioid epidemic in one of the Ohio Valley’s hardest hit states. And officials there believe it’s the largest settlement against a single pharmaceutical distributor. The McKesson Corporation agreed to pay $37 million to settle a 2016 lawsuit filed by… Read More

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Cannabis Economy: With Medical Marijuana, Ohio’s Meigs County Hopes To Cash In On “Golden” Opportunity

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Meigs County, Ohio, has a complicated history with marijuana. “Meigs County Gold” has been grown illegally for years. Local legend has it that was the strain of choice for musicians like the Grateful Dead and Willie Nelson when they toured Ohio. But for Meigs County Commissioner Randy Smith, that isn’t a source of pride. Instead… Read More

Federal Opioid Strikeforce Indicts More Than A Dozen Ohio Valley Doctors

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The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Wednesday more than a dozen indictments against doctors in the Ohio Valley on charges relating to the illegal distribution of opioids. These are the first major indictments from the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force, which started work in December. “The opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in… Read More

ARC Provides Funds For Addiction Treatment Projects In Athens County and Kentucky

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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… Read More

As Opioid Crisis Affects A New Generation, Experts Study Long-Term Effects Of Prenatal Exposure

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Sue Meeks has worked with children for years as a registered nurse. Meeks manages the family navigator program at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine in Athens, Ohio. Several years ago, she started noticing three and four-year-olds coming into the program with certain distinctive behaviors. “Children that appear to be neurologically very overstimulated,” she… Read More

CDC Data Show Ohio Valley Still Has Nation’s Highest Overdose Death Rates

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New federal data show the Ohio Valley again led the nation in rates of fatal drug overdoses last year. The data confirm what local officials have reported: Synthetic opioids are fueling the increase. West Virginia had the nation’s highest rate of fatal drug overdoses in 2017 with 57.8 deaths per 100,000 people. Ohio had the second-highest… Read More

Ohio Valley Lawmakers Helped Shape Bipartisan Bill On Opioid Crisis

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A year after President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency, he signed a bipartisan bill Wednesday to bolster law enforcement efforts and expand addiction treatment and resources. Proponents hope the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act helps the Ohio Valley, which suffers some of the nation’s highest rates of addiction and overdose deaths…. Read More

The Doctor And The Epidemic: Three Years At Ground Zero Of The Opioid Crisis

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When Dr. Rahul Gupta started work as West Virginia’s chief health officer his state was already ground zero for the opioid epidemic, with some of the nation’s highest rates of addiction and overdose fatalities. That was 2015, and 735 state residents died from overdoses that year. Preliminary data for 2017 show there were 1,011 overdose deaths… Read More

New Ohio Data Show Sharp Increase In Overdose Deaths From The Opioid Fentanyl

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New official state data from the Ohio Department of Health show 4,854 people died of drug overdoses in 2017, a 20 percent increase from the previous year. The new data add to evidence from around the Ohio Valley showing deaths related to the opioid crisis continued to rise in 2017 as state records begin to reflect the… Read More

Surgeon General Says Opioid Crisis Requires Fight Against Stigma

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In a comprehensive new report on the opioid crisis, the U.S. surgeon general writes that stigma remains a major barrier to treatment and urges a more supportive approach to those in need. Surgeon General Jerome Adams wrote in his Spotlight on Opioids report that stigma has prevented people with opioid use disorders from seeking treatment. “The way… Read More