For the past five months, the Journal Gazette has reported on aspects of opioid abuse across the region. Here’s a summary of the series; read it all at the JG Opioid page online at www.journalgazette.net/opioid.
• We’re hooked on a killer: An overview of the opioid crisis in northeast Indiana, including profiles of some users and an explanation of why it is so easy to get addicted.
• Drug of choice: Narcan, when administered in time, can work miracles.
• Schools play key role in fighting back: Two South Side High School graduates remember an afterschool anti-drug program they took at Memorial Park Middle School.
• Groups defeat barriers to reach addicted teens: It can be a challenge to get teenagers to open up to adults about their problems, particularly when talking about mental health and addiction.
• Surveys say youth drug use falling but still high: Indiana ranks high in the number of students who take prescription drugs illegally, but two surveys show a downward trend.
• Editorial: Under the influence: Though drug use among teens seems to be dropping, the overall problem is worsening, which which means there’s more that needs to be done to alert young people to opioids’ dangers.
• Editorial: Supply lines: A law enforcement official compared it to cutting the head off a snake. Authorities seized drugs, cash and firearms and made arrests. But drugs in this area are a Hydra-like problem, with many heads and many fangs.
• Fighting addiction from birth: If a woman took opioids or other drugs when pregnant, there is a possibility her newborn baby is going to be dependent on the drugs.
• Editorial: Opioid fight begins in the womb: The tiniest, most heartbreaking victims are the babies afflicted with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
• Editorial: High stakes: Things are going to get worse in the opioid crisis before they get better.
• Families find redemption: Opioid abuse affects more than just the user. Families describe the pain and the difficulty reconnecting.
• Editorial: Understanding opioids’ lure aids in battle: Medical professionals face the facts of addiction at health department seminar. • Prescription abuse saps employers: Examining the cost of drug abuse in the workplace.
• Area opioid treatment changing, limited: Why the traditional 28-day stint in a rehab facility for addiction is largely a thing of the past.
• Editorial: Moving the needle: Allen County’s needle-exchange program is finally underway.
• Getting detox started in jail: County officials see promise in program that reduces relapses
• State has no detox standard: Arrested and separated from their narcotic of choice, jail inmates are left to sweat it out on their own. But changes may be coming in how addicts are treated while incarcerated.
• Women find addiction redemption: A look inside Redemption House, where women spared jail must face their addictions.
• Editorial: Minding health: Mental health, drug addiction programs are inextricably linked.
• Fight to get prescriptions for pain filled: Substance abuse is going untreated as many pharmacists and medical professionals cast a wary eye on prescribing and dispensing opioids.
• Editorial: Lives in the balance: To end the opioid crisis, the community must battle misinformation and lack of awareness.