Recovery

Louis Morano knows what he needs, and he knows where to get it.

Morano, 29, has done seven stints in rehab for opioid addiction in the past 15 years. So, he has come to a mobile medical clinic parked on a corner of Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood, in the geographical heart of the city's overdose crisis. People call the mobile clinic the "bupe bus."

Methamphetamine, an illegal drug that sends the body into overdrive, is surging through the United States. Federal drug data provided exclusively to NPR show seizures of meth by authorities have spiked, rising 142% between 2017 and 2018.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, one of the aspects of the opioid epidemic we don’t often hear about is what happens to the bodies of those who become overtaken by addiction. This morning, Liz McCormick takes a look at one group under strain -- the state’s forensic pathologists who are charged with performing autopsies.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a federal district judge last week ordered the release of a government database that tracks the shipments of every single prescription pain pill manufactured in the U.S. In an analysis of that data, reporters at the Charleston Gazette-Mail and The Washington Post found between 2006 and 2012, 76 billion oxycodone and hydrocodone pills were shipped to pharmacies across the country.

Three reporters at The Washington Post were responsible for the analysis that shows just how concentrated the epidemic was in Appalachian communities, including database editor Steven Rich. He spoke with 100 Days in Appalachia’s Ashton Marra about the reporting.

Charles Glover outside the Clarksburg Mission, where he serves as a mentor.
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Charles Glover doesn’t mince words when assessing Clarksburg, West Virginia, the town where he was raised and still lives today.

“It’s not Clarksburg anymore,” Glover says. “It’s Methburg.” 

Methburg. As in methamphetamines, a drug that ravaged his community more than a decade ago and today is coming back just as strong.

New Data Show Opioid Deaths May Have Peaked, and Reveal Scale of Past Pain Pill Sales

Jul 18, 2019
Adobe Stock

Two newly released sets of government data show that the death toll from the nation’s opioid crisis may finally be dropping and also reveal the scale of the pain pill sales that help set the crisis in motion. The data for the Ohio Valley show how hard the region was hit and how hard people in these communities have been fighting to save lives.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, left, first lady Melania Trump, center, and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, right, listen as Huntington Police Chief Hank Dial, speaks at Cabell-Huntington Health Center in Huntington, WVa., July 8, 2019
Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

First lady Melania Trump visited West Virginia on Monday to learn how a city at the center of the nation’s opioid epidemic is grappling with the crisis.

She met with federal, state and local officials in Huntington and heard how the area’s police, schools and health care centers are trying to fight the opioid scourge.

Marshall Health & the Bernard McDonough Foundation

A recent report explores the variety of methods and programs implemented in Huntington to fight substance use disorder. Organizations who created the document hope to share ideas throughout the state.

Adobe Stock

Low-income Americans are dying at a higher rate than high-income Americans. In fact, the life span of low-income Americans is becoming shorter – a trend largely attributed drug and alcohol related deaths, which has been called deaths of despair.

“The least well-off Americans have seen their wages become stagnant, their jobs become obsolete, their neighborhoods crumbling in various ways. And so there’s a thought that that leads to despair for less educated Americans and they turn to drugs or suicide,” explained University of Michigan professor Arline Geronimus.

Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Not everyone looks at the increased availability of alcoholic beverages quite the same way. Some people struggle with it. Alcohol is, after all, a socially acceptable, legal drug.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, data on the Ohio Valley’s addiction crisis show that the problem is often more profound and persistent in communities that are economically distressed. As part of the Ohio Valley ReSource series, “Working Toward Recovery,” Aaron Payne visited an Ohio community tackling both problems.

Serenity Hills Life Center

A new residential recovery center is opening its doors in Wheeling this June. The Serenity Hills Life Center will host an open house for the public this week.

Working Toward Recovery: Ohio Town Fights Addiction with Focus on Economy

May 28, 2019
Chillicothe Street in Downtown Portsmouth.
Aaron Payne / Ohio Valley ReSource

Addiction specialists, business leaders, law enforcement officials and other community members gathered around tables at Shawnee State University to talk about two big challenges in Scioto County, Ohio: a shrinking economy and a growing addiction crisis.

Clients waiting for addiction treatment services in Berkeley Co., WV
Rebecca Kiger / Ohio Valley ReSource

A Washington Post investigation finds the Ohio Valley is suffering the most from the surge in overdose deaths due to synthetic opioids, even as deaths from other substances are falling.

The Post analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and found the region has the nation’s highest rates of death due to fentanyl.

A dozen new hypodermic needles are given to a man who disposed of 12 used needles at a clinic, Friday, Jan. 20, 2012.
Robert F. Bukaty / AP file photo

“They made me feel like I was a person.”

That’s what a 40-year-old man told researchers from Johns Hopkins University about a now-closed syringe services program in the heart of central Appalachia.

Poll: Addiction, Affordability and Access Top Health Concerns in Rural America

May 22, 2019
Dr. Albert Warren consults with a patient and records the patient’s symptoms on an electronic tablet in Hawkinsville, Georgia.
Bob Nichols / USDA

More than four in 10 adults living in rural Appalachia cite drug abuse as the biggest issue facing their communities, according to “Life in Rural America: Part II,” a report released this week by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health from a telephone survey of 1,405 adults living in the rural U.S.

Brittany Patterson / Ohio Valley ReSource

This is the first story in an occasional series exploring the links between addiction recovery and a recovering economy.

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.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, as the Ohio Valley suffers some of the nation’s highest rates of addiction and overdose deaths, a growing movement shows promise for those in recovery. Many are finding employment and support in food services and farms that specifically hire people who are recovering from addiction. Brittany Patterson has the story.

Appalachian Regional Commission Announces Plan to Build ‘Recovery Ecosystem’

May 17, 2019
The Appalachia Regional Commission held six listening sessions throughout the region, including a March session in Pineville, Ky.
Courtesy Appalachian Regional Commission

The Appalachian Regional Commission is shifting its focus toward recovery. 

The organization, led by the governors of the 13 Appalachian states and a federal co-chair appointed by the president, announced this week the creation of its Substance Abuse Advisory Council. The 24-member group consists of representatives from communities throughout the region who will “develop recommendations for ARC to consider as part of a strategic plan to build and strengthen a recovery ecosystem in Appalachian communities by drawing on their own experiences.”

oxycontin
Toby Talbot / Associated Press

Five more state attorney generals have announced they have filed suit against the manufacturer of the highly addictive opioid OxyContin and it’s former chief executive.

 

West Virginia’s suit, announced Thursday by state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, alleges that the Purdue Pharma used unlawful marketing tactics that fueled a scourge of opioid addiction and related deaths.

Federal Opioid Strikeforce Indicts More Than a Dozen Ohio Valley Doctors

Apr 17, 2019
Joanne Chiedi, center, Principal Deputy Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, answers reporter's questions during a news conference  Wednesday, April 17, 2019, in Cincinnati.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

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.

Tony Wagner / American Public Media

For this episode, Trey speaks with Caitlin Esch, a reporter for The Uncertain Hour podcast, which is produced from the Wealth and Poverty Desk at APM’s Marketplace.  They’ve produced a series that examines the history of the so-called “War on Drugs.”

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, emergency personnel in Wheeling were responded to more than 130 overdose calls last year.  That’s about 20 more than they received in 2017. Overdose deaths doubled. The city decided to respond by enlisting the help of people who understand this trouble better than anyone else. Corey Knollinger reports.

In a session dominated by an omnibus education bill that ultimately died, lawmakers know officially now that they'll be back for a special session on education. We bring you the latest, and we also speak with the presidents of two state universities.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, from 2014 to 2016, more than 300 West Virginians on Medicaid overdosed. Researchers from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health wanted to see what kind of care those people got afterward. They found that only about 10 percent of people who experienced a non-fatal overdose received appropriate follow-up.

Teachers on strike in the rotunda of the West Virginia Capitol.
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Teachers in at least 30 counties across West Virginia participated in a walk-in demonstration Wednesday morning, and teachers in all 55 counties wore red to show solidarity.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, health reporter Kara Lofton spent the semester working with fifth-graders at Valley Elementary school on a youth-reporting project. In the following audio postcard, we’ll hear from six of those students about how holiday traditions help them feel connected to their families and their communities.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

This West Virginia Morning, we have another segment in an occasional series called Recovery Stories –– conversations from the heart of the nation’s opioid crisis. Today, we hear a conversation between Dustin Aubrey and Bob Lloyd. They first met at a Dayton, Ohio, support group. Dustin’s in recovery. And Bob’s adult son struggles with substance use disorder.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, we begin an occasional series we’re calling ​Recovery Stories –– conversations from the heart of the nation’s opioid crisis. Today, we meet Dayton, Ohio-native Andre Lewis and his friend and recovery sponsor, William Roberts. William works in social services in Dayton and is a church pastor with nearly three decades in recovery himself. As Andre explains in this story, he first met William at a treatment program for struggling addicts.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, something unusual happened last month: Congress passed an opioid law -- and did it with overwhelming bipartisan support … in both chambers. It was a broad, $8 billion bill that expands access to health services and recovery centers. So it looks like addressing the opioid epidemic is one thing Democrats and Republicans can agree on. And that’s the topic of this week’s Red State, Blue State -- our weekly chat between Cherry Glazer of KCRW in California and West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Trey Kay.

Pages