opioid crisis

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Deaths from opioids have dropped nationally, but fatal overdoses are a top concern in Georgia. One police department is trying something new: instead of locking them up, officers are steering people who overdose into treatment.


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Marshae Jones, an Alabama woman charged with manslaughter for allegedly starting a fight that led to her getting shot and having a miscarriage, will not face prosecution after all. The prosecutor has decided not to pursue the charge, but the incident started a conversation about negligence and culpability for pregnant women in an era of increasingly restrictive abortion laws. 

With the potential increase to the liability pregnant women face, legal questions arise surrounding when a pregnant woman is addicted to drugs. On Second Thought looked at how current and pending laws converge with Georgia’s opioid crisis.


An agriculture professor at the University of Georgia, James L. Carmon, talked his school into buying the costliest computer in existence in 1964 -- and it helped put a man on the moon. The computer was $3 million when the school purchased it. It’s now worth $25 million. Carmon's daughter, Lee, talked about her father's work. Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Bo Emerson joined her on On Second Thought to talk about how the computer influenced the space race.

 

 


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 200,000 opioid-related deaths in the United States over the last two decades. Georgia has some of the nation's hardest-hit counties. White users have largely been the face of the epidemic, but the problem affects every demographic.


Jessica Gurell / GPB

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 200,000 opioid-related deaths in the United States over the last two decades. Georgia has some of the nation's hardest-hit counties. White users have largely been the face of the epidemic, but the problem affects every demographic.


Gov. Brian Kemp and his wife Marty Kemp greet President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump as they arrive at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to attend the "Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit," Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Atlanta.
Evan Vucci / AP

Speaking at the National Rx Drug and Heroin Abuse Summit in Atlanta, President Donald Trump told attendees that his support for faith-based initiatives was critical for the effort to combat the opioid crisis. 


U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, a Republican who represents Georgia’s 1st Congressional District spoke at the 2019 Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit in Atlanta.
Robert Jimison / GPB

U.S. Congressman Earl "Buddy" Carter represents a large part of Georgia's coast. Some of the counties in his district are among the hardest hit in the state by the opioid crisis. Carter is also the only pharmacist currently serving in Congress. 


Kevin D. Liles / AP

Georgia now has millions more in federal funding for addressing prescription and opioid drug abuse.

The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities recently received a $10.3 million grant from the Department of Health and Human Services. The funding will expand access to medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction and overdose, HHS Deputy Secretary Eric Hargan said Tuesday.

Elise Amendola / AP

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will discuss the opioid crisis at an Atlanta summit.

The White House announced the April 24 appearance at the Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit on Twitter Tuesday, saying the Trumps will speak "about their fight to end the opioid crisis in America."

Trump has declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency and is spending billions of dollars to combat it. Opioid abuse claimed nearly 48,000 American lives in 2017.

Today's show explored the mysteries of the human brain, how workers 55 and older are navigating the job market and opioid misuse among construction workers.

Emory University's Brain Health Center has partnered with GPB to create a new television show, "Your Fantastic Mind." The show's host Jaye Watson joined "On Second Thought" to discuss the upcoming season, which premieres tonight on GPB. It highlights clinical advances in neurology, psychiatry and rehabilitation medicine.


GPB/Parrish Walton

Opioid addiction does not discriminate. It affects families and communities at every socioeconomic level and in every region in Georgia. "On Second Thought" looked at how the opioid crisis affects construction workers. A study from health researchers found construction workers and people in related fields are six times more likely to die of opioid overdoses than the general population. 

Tim Stephens is a peer recovery coach with the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse. He's been in long-term recovery since 2012. Stephens has also worked in the construction industry. He shared his story about the business and his recovery experience. Laurisa Barthen also joined the conversation. Barthen is the outreach and communications manager with the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse.


Nolen has no health insurance coverage and his treatment for opioid addiction is funded by a grant program Congress approved in 2016 under the 21st Century Cures Act.
AP Photo / Mark Humphrey

The indulgences of the holidays are behind us, and Dry January is trending. But that movement to give up drinking alcohol, in this case for a month, is more than a fad for those who struggle with alcohol abuse or other substance abuse addictions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 88,000 Americans die from excessive alcohol use each year.

By comparison, drug overdoses amid the opioid crisis caused 72,000 deaths. Researchers from the University of Washington found the number of deaths attributable to alcohol rose 35 percent from 2007 to 2017 – and Georgia is the state with the second highest rate of deaths, followed by Alabama at No. 3.


HHS

Federal and state agencies working on an opioid task force gathered online for the first time this week.

The Region IV Opioid Crisis Coalition federal interagency workgroup, which includes Georgia, is led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The meeting was closed to members of the press, but Renee Ellmers, who represents the region, said the purpose of the meeting involved making sure federal funding for the opioid crisis was being used effectively for Georgia communities.

Mel Evans / AP Photo/File

A nonprofit is hoping to help end the opioid epidemic in Georgia by providing better resources for those struggling with substance use disorder.

The Addiction Policy Forum vets treatment facilities and providers before adding them to its database, Danielle Tarino said.


GBI

More people in the metro Atlanta area abuse opioids than anywhere else in the state, officials said Monday.

Cobb, Fulton, Gwinnett and DeKalb counties are in first through fourth place for the second year in a row, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

The Department of Health and Human Services kicked off a campaign Monday to help prevent opioid addiction through education.

Nationwide, Georgia is near the top — just out of the top 10 at 11th place — in the number of overdose deaths.


Atlanta’s Donald Glover has found a new level of success. He’s an actor, the creator of a hit show named after his hometown of Atlanta, and a rapper under the name Childish Gambino. But his most powerful statement might be “This Is America”, a new song and video released over the weekend. Freelance entertainment reporter Jewel Wicker gives us her take on the video and what role musicians should play when it comes to social issues.

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Georgia’s director of Family and Children Services says the opioid crisis is the main reason behind a recent surge in the foster care population.  More than 15,000 children are being cared for by the state, according to DFCS director Virginia Pryor. That’s nearly double what the population was five years ago.

Last month, investigators in Atlanta recovered about 500 pounds of methamphetamine hidden inside Disney figurines. That's worth about $2 million. Drug Enforcement Administration officials not only say that Atlanta is a hub for crystal meth distribution; according to the DEA, meth also the "No. 1 threat" in the metro area.

New research on anxiety in the workplace finds in some cases, anxiety can actually help improve employee performance. Georgia State University psychology professor Page Anderson developed a technology to help people with social anxiety by using virtual reality. The software simulates real life settings that cause patients anxiety, helping them learn to cope before they have to confront the same scenarios in the real world. 

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The opioid crisis continues to ravage Georgia and the rest of the nation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, prescription opioids caused more than 32,000 deaths in 2016.

  • Voters go to the polls to elect Atlanta's next mayor
  • Atlanta's Board of Education amends dress code policy after a petition
  • New study finds that the state hasn't done enough to combat the opioid crisis

About a month ago, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. He's spent a lot of time talking about the severity of the drug crisis. But he's spent less time outlining the specific steps he'll take to fight it. Today, a White House analysis declared that the true cost of the opioid epidemic in 2015 was more than half a trillion dollars.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

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On this edition of "Political Rewind," how did voter data end up being erased from state computers even as a lawsuit challenging the integrity of Georgia elections was underway? It’s a story that could haunt top candidates in next year’s statewide elections. Also, President Trump speaks out about the opioid crisis. Did he make it clear he’s ready to commit the resources necessary to make an impact? It matters in Georgia, where the crisis looms large. Plus, Obamacare rates are out for 2018, and Georgians will pay more than people in many other states.

Panelists:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Opioid abuse causes a 9/11-scale loss of life every three weeks in America. Last year, more than 50,000 people died from a drug overdose. The largest annual jump ever recorded. The evidence suggests the problem is even worse this year.

On the same day President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, the co-founder of a prominent opioid medication manufacturer has been arrested on fraud and racketeering charges. John Kapoor, former CEO of Insys Therapeutics, has been charged with conspiring to push the company's signature drug for unacceptable uses through a series of bribes and kickbacks.

President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency on Thursday, freeing up resources to deal with the epidemic.

Last year, more than 64,000 people died from drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics. Many of those overdoses were from heroin, prescription painkillers, fentanyl and other opioids.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Today, President Trump addresses the opioids crisis in the United States. He's not declaring a national emergency precisely. He is declaring, however, a public health emergency, as we understand it.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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