WYSO

Opioid Epidemic

Karen Kasler

It’ll be a while before the state puts out new official numbers on Ohio’s deadly opioid crisis. However, the federal Centers for Disease Control says it has new stats that show the epidemic is nowhere close to slowing down.

The CDC says the number of deadly overdoses in Ohio soared 39 percent from July of 2016 to last July. That’s more than twice as much as the national increase in deadly overdoses in that same period.

The Your Voice Ohio initiative brings together Ohioans from all walks of life, to brainstorm homegrown solutions to the opioid crisis.
Jess Mador / WYSO

Dozens of family members, advocates, recovering addicts and others affected by opioids shared their stories and experiences Sunday afternoon at a special community meeting held at the downtown branch of the Dayton Public Library.

The event was part of a unique project WYSO is participating in called Your Voice Ohio. The goal of the collaborative initiative is to bring Ohioans from all walks of life together, to brainstorm homegrown solutions to the opioid crisis.

Though the shops along Sullivant Avenue in Columbus, Ohio had all closed their doors one cold November night, a young woman walked alone down the alley behind the Seventh Day Adventist Church. She was petite and wore lipstick, a tweed coat and blue jeans torn at the knee.


Your Voice Ohio: Using Death To Quantify Compassion

Feb 1, 2018

This commentary is part of Your Voice Ohio, a collaborative effort to produce more relevant, powerful journalism based on the needs and ambitions of Ohioans and Ohio communities.

Your Voice Ohio is an initiative of WYSO and more than 30 news organizations across Ohio. We’re beginning with the opioid epidemic and will let the public guide us from there. 

Learn more about the project and how you can get involved. 

UDRI software engineer, Kelly Cashion (right), adjusts a wireless EEG headset on research engineer Nilesh Powar to demonstrate what a neurofeedback session would look like. Both work in the software systems group at UDRI.
The University of Dayton Research Institute

There is growing evidence that opioids quickly change the brain, making it more likely for users to get hooked and struggle to recover. 

This spring, researchers at the University of Dayton Research Institute will experiment with a new program designed to help opioid addicts retrain their brains, breaking the addiction cycle with neurofeedback therapy.

It’s a method that teaches addicts to rewire the brain pathways associated with drug cravings and withdrawal, officials say. 

Paulo Marrucho / Flickr Creative Commons

The number of transplants using organs from people who fatally overdosed on drugs is rising in central Ohio and the nation.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the nonprofit group Lifeline Ohio had a record number of donors and recipients in 2017 and a 37 percent increase in the number of organs transplanted. Lifeline is the organ-donation organization for 37 Ohio counties and two counties in West Virginia.

One thousand people are getting killed in southwest Ohio yearly.

By what?

Opioids. Drugs.

As journalists, we’re troubled that our aggressive coverage of the escalating death toll and costly side effects of opioids have been without a widespread public mobilization. We like to think we’re providing information that helps the community identify and solve problems, but this one eludes us.

That’s an admission on our part: We care about our communities. We believe 1,000 dead people every year cries out for understanding – and game-changing action.

Megan Johnson
Basim Blunt / WYSO

This week on Dayton Youth Radio, we have the first of two stories about teenagers dealing with the opioid crisis. Today we'll hear from Megan Johnson, a senior at Centerville High School.

My story is about my 25 year old cousin, whose life was taken by the use of heroin.  She overdosed on Fentanyl. I did this story because this is something I think about on a daily basis every night before I go to sleep, losing someone who was so close to me to drugs and seeing what it did to my family.

Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

There’s almost universal agreement more treatment needs to be made available to help Ohio overcome the opioid crisis that killed nearly 11 people a day last year. But a study from Ohio State University says there simply isn’t enough capacity to help the 170,000 Ohioans who are battling opioid addiction. As part of a series on recovery and roadblocks in the opioid crisis, Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports on what experts are saying Ohio needs to focus on now.

Every year hundreds of people gather at the Statehouse with family, friends and others who helped them for the Rally for Recovery.
Karen Kasler / Ohio Public Radio

There are as many as 170,000 Ohioans who abuse or are addicted to opioids, according to a recent study from the Ohio State University’s Swank Program in Rural-Urban Policy. Abuse of and addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin costs thousands of those people their families, their jobs, their homes and – in the case of nearly 11 people a day last year – their lives. As part of a series on recovery and roadblocks in the opioid crisis, Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports the state’s response to the crisis has gotten mixed reviews.

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