Pew Trusts: Seven 2017 statistics that informed, inspired us to tackle today’s toughest challenges

Pew Charitable Trusts takes on some of today’s toughest issues, by applying a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public police, inform the public and invigorate civic life. Here are the stats that drove Pew’s work in 2017: 1. Opioids claim 91 American lives daily That sobering stat stems in part from two others: • More than 20 million Americans have a substance use disorder (so...

Beshear denies involvement in state opioid settlement after being grilled by legislative panel

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear was grilled last week by lawmakers over a $24 million settlement against a pharmaceutical company even though he told them he had no involvement. Former Demoractic Attorney General Jack Conway settled a lawsuit against OxyContin manufacturer Purdue Pharma in December 2015 just a few weeks before Beshear replaced Conway as attorney...

Dorsey Ridley: Opioid crisis affecting every aspect of life in Kentucky… and more needs to be done

When the clock strikes midnight tonight, four more Kentuckians will have died of a drug overdose.   That’s how the veteran law enforcement official tasked with coordinating the state’s response to the heroin epidemic describes the seriousness of the situation. While the headlines about the crisis have focused on Northern Kentucky, Appalachia and the big cities, don’t be fooled into thinking...

Dreamland author says opioid epidemic leads to discussion of addiction, first step to finding solutions

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Since Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic was published in 2015, the author says the nation has seen both positive and negative changes in the epidemic that is sweeping Kentucky and other states. “The negative changes are pretty dramatic,” Sam Quinones said in a telephone interview with Kentucky Health News. “The number...

Beshear hires four law firms to investigate opioid manufacturers; Bevin says action is premature

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear has hired four law firms to investigate and sue companies who have contributed to the opioid epidemic in Kentucky. However, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration says the Kentucky attorney general’s announcement of a state contract to investigate opioid manufacturers is premature. The Finance and Administration Cabinet...

SOAR hosting substance-abuse disorder educational and policy event at Pikeville on Oct. 3

Shaping Our Appalachian Region’s Healthy Communities program and the University of Pikeville will host a substance-use disorder education event Tuesday, Oct. 3 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the university’s Kentucky College of Optometry (Health Professionals Education Building). The meeting is for “health professionals and stakeholders who share the vision of reducing the scope and impact...

Pair of legislative panels hear sobering accounts of impact of opioid crisis in Kentucky

At one Kentucky hospital, people are actually bringing in heroin and shooting up with patients. That’s one example of the “very desperate situation” the opioid-abuse crisis has created, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Dave Adkisson said while testifying before a panel of state legislators Wednesday in the Capitol Annex. He was among more than 25 people from across the country who testified...

Kentucky joins national movement seeking solution for opioid crisis through insurance companies

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today The Attorneys General of Kentucky and West Virginia joined together on Monday to call on health insurance companies to help find workable solutions for the opioid crisis. Democrat Andy Beshear and Republican Patrick Morrisey appeared at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, to announce that they and 36 other state attorneys general want the insurers to promote...

Treating Pain: Discuss risks, alternatives to taking opioids for relief with your doctor

By Dr. Kristy Deep Special to KyForward Treating pain is important and for many people, the reliance on opioids or narcotics may not be the best answer. The amount of opioids prescribed in the U.S. has quadrupled since 1999, but the overall amount of pain reported hasn’t changed. There are also risks from opioid pain medicines — including side effects and the risk of overdose. And according to...

Author of opioid epidemic book Dreamland says it began with easy answers to tough questions

By Al Cross Kentucky Health News The opioid epidemic began with a desire for “easy answers to complicated problems,” and the solution to it needs to avoid similar mistakes, the author of the seminal book on the topic said recently on KET’s “Connections with Renee Shaw.” “As a culture we need to learn patience. It took us a long time to get into this and it will take...

Eli Capilouto: Research one of the major factors helping to drive Kentucky’s economy

At the University of Kentucky, we strive to be at the intersection of innovation and impact. We are called, as a $3.7 billion academic, research and health enterprise, to answer still lingering questions while daring to pioneer the questions yet asked. This discovery helps drive Kentucky’s economy. Our rare mix of top ranked programs in agriculture, engineering, medicine, and pharmacy positions UK...

Bevin, Aetna announce partnership to provide first responders in Eastern Kentucky with Narcan

First responders in eastern Kentucky will receive a fresh supply of Narcan to help prevent deaths from drug overdoses. Gov. Matt Bevin joined with executives from Aetna and local officials in Hazard to announce a partnership that will provide 360 doses of the medication, a crucial drug for saving lives. Drug overdose deaths in Kentucky have skyrocketed in recent years, and sometimes simply by coming...

Kentucky doctors, lawmakers, insurance companies battle opioid epidemic by limiting prescriptons

To fight the opioid epidemic, Kentucky doctors, legislators and health-insurance companies are working to limit the prescription of painkillers. At the annual convention of the Kentucky Medical Association, a University of Kentucky trauma surgeon told other physicians how he and his colleagues got a wake-up call about the problem and “how they were able to halve the amount of opiates given to...

New program will allow Kentuckians to safely dispose of unused prescription opioids at home

Attorney General Andy Beshear is taking an innovative step in the fight against what he believes is the single greatest threat to Kentucky – the state’s drug epidemic. On Tuesday, Beshear launched the Kentucky Opioid Disposal Program, the state’s first initiative to allow Kentuckians to safely dispose of opioid medications at home. The program involves the drug deactivation pouch, Deterra, which...

Number of painkiller prescriptions decline statewide, but remain high in many individual counties

Kentucky Health News reported in July about a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report showing ranges of painkillers sold per person in each county in 2015 and whether there had been an increase or decrease since 2010. Individual county data was unavailable at the time of the July report, but has since been made available. The CDC report calculated the rate of “morphine equivalent doses”...

Louisville files federal lawsuit against three major opioid companies for damages

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Mayor Greg Fischer announced on Monday that Louisville has filed a federal lawsuit against three major wholesale drug distributors. “We have lost a generation of people to opiates,” Fischer said. “We’ve seen a spike in violent crime tied directly to the sale and misuse of opioids. And we are spending millions of dollars on health, public safety and justice expenses,...

Survivors of drug abuse herald new Kentucky laws aimed at opioid crisis at Capitol ceremony

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Two examples of lives nearly wrecked by opioid abuse underscored the importance of three new laws aimed at the drug-abuse crisis in Kentucky. 
 Amy Compston of Ashland and Alex Elswick of Lexington shared their stories in a ceremony at the Capitol Tuesday.   One of the laws limits the prescribing of opioids to a three-day supply, with some exceptions, and increases penalties...

Kentucky’s opioid crisis focus of Sept. 25 meeting of Howard Bost Health Policy Forum

Author and journalist Sam Quinones, whose book Dreamland chronicles the rise of prescription opioid abuse and subsequent heroin addiction across suburban and rural America, will keynote the Howard L. Bost Health Policy Forum on Sept 25 in Lexington. The title of the 15th annual forum, underwritten by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky with support from Gilead Sciences, Inc., is “Kentucky’s...

Knowing naloxone administration skills can give someone another chance at life following overdose

By Dr. Raeford Brown Special to KyForward It’s a terrifying scenario that’s become all-too-real in the age of the opioid epidemic: a person lying lifeless, not breathing, because of an opioid overdose. According to the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, the rates of opioid overdose deaths continue to rise in Kentucky. More than 1,400 people in the state died of a drug overdose in 2016, and...

Bevin announces new public awareness campaign, website aimed at fight against opioid addiction

Gov. Matt Bevin is urging all Kentuckians to help beat back the opioid epidemic with a new public awareness campaign that highlights the dangers of opioid abuse and offers information on drug treatment and naloxone. The campaign, launching this week, combines web content with statewide advertising to drive home a simple message: “Don’t Let Them Die.” The theme encourages Kentuckians to recognize...