Opioids

California prison drug overdoses surge again after early treatment success

Drug overdose deaths in California state prisons rebounded to near record levels last year, a big setback for corrections officials who thought they were on the right track with medication-assisted treatment efforts. Officials blame fentanyl.

Oregon's experiment in drug decriminalization failed. Advocates blame the state's political leadership.

Just over three years since Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 110, elected officials want to repeal key elements, blaming the law for open drug use and soaring overdoses. But it’s their own hands-off approach that isn’t working, advocates say.

To put a dent in opioid addiction, start with the corrections system

Pilot programs have offered incarcerated individuals medications for opioid use disorder, but now it’s time to start expanding those programs for long-term success, observers say.

Federal lawmakers take first steps toward oversight of $50 billion in opioid settlements

The four-page bill lists how states should spend settlement money, but it doesn’t specify consequences for flouting the rules or name who is in charge of monitoring compliance.

How state and local agencies are working together to quell the opioid crisis

Leaders at every level of government underlined the importance of collaboration to effectively leverage funding to address the nationwide opioid epidemic during a recent National Association of Counties event.

‘They see a cash cow’: Corporations could consume $50 billion of opioid settlements

Businesses are swarming state and local governments to pitch products and services that they claim can help address the opioid crisis, but experts warn profit-driven companies could be after a share of opioid settlement cash.

Millions in opioid settlement funds sit untouched as overdose deaths rise

Nationwide, state and local governments have received more than $4.3 billion as of Nov. 9. How much of that has been used remains uncertain due to states’ lack of public reporting. But from what is known, it varies.

With youth overdose death rates soaring, state offers free opioid reversal medication to schools

The initiative comes amid a spike in the number of teens who have died from drug overdoses in the last five years.

Help for rural governments tackling the opioid crisis

The Reaching Rural Initiative helped officials in Harnett County, North Carolina, develop an opioid emergency response plan and a program to direct formerly incarcerated individuals to treatment.

How a different kind of drug testing can help communities stave off overdoses

Insights from advanced drug-testing services are proving essential for public health officials struggling to contain an evolving crisis.

Evolving overdose crisis shakes previously effective treatments

Synthetic drugs are killing more Americans as they render treatment options less effective.

Using opioid settlement cash for police gear like squad cars and scanners sparks debate

As state and local governments figure out how to spend more than $50 billion from opioid settlement cash, officials must balance how to allocate funds for competing interests such as drug addiction treatment and enhanced police tech.

More schools stock overdose reversal meds, but others worry about stigma

Eight states currently require all or some schools to offer naloxone in a bid to curb opioid overdoses. But some experts question the effectiveness of such policies.

Why fentanyl trafficking enforcement may fall short

Several states this year passed laws targeting drug traffickers through increased penalties. But one expert says efforts to curb the fentanyl supply could open the doors for newer, more dangerous substances to arise.

Drug decriminalization stumbled in Oregon. Other states are taking note.

The rocky start could slow the movement to treat addiction as a public health matter.

Death rates for people under 40 have skyrocketed. Blame fentanyl.

Accidental overdoses are now the No. 1 cause of death for young people in 37 states.

Will Texas’ new fentanyl awareness curriculum for public schools succeed where other anti-drug messaging failed?

Historically, anti-drug messaging in schools has failed to acknowledge the mental health reasons that youth self-medicate. Without that key lesson, advocates worry House Bill 3908 will be another D.A.R.E. campaign.

States stiffen penalties for fentanyl, despite public health concerns

Critics argue that harsh penalties could deter those in need of help and worsen societal disparities.

Meet the people deciding how to spend $50 billion in opioid settlement cash

As settlement dollars land at the state level, state councils wield significant power in determining how the windfall gets spent.