The Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System now faces at least 19 related wrongful-death lawsuits alleging patients were negligently or intentionally given too much pain medication. News on the epidemic looks at treatments for recovery; states getting tougher on sellers; mobile opioid response teams and safe consumption sites, as well.
Five hospital patients who died after getting potentially fatal doses of pain medication may have been given those drugs when there still was a chance to improve their conditions with treatment, an Ohio health system said Friday as its investigation continued. The Columbus-area Mount Carmel Health System said it is notifying families of those five people, who were among dozens of patients that received excessive doses ordered by one of its doctors. (2/22)
In addiction phraseology, it’s often called “rock bottom.” It’s a state of mind known as the nadir of suffering, an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. Sometimes it’s a jumpoff point at which misery is traded for normalcy and meaning, where one life ends and another begins. Ryan Hess’s rock bottom came during a drizzly December in Ohio. He was yet again high on heroin, and he had been that way for more hours than he could remember. The 33-year-old lay on a filthy sweatshirt beneath a piece — just a small piece — of tent, stolen from a stranger’s garden shed. His socks and shoes were wet, his breath and body reeked. (Fleming, 2/23)
Having lost his 29-year-old son to a fentanyl overdose, Dean Palozej believes dealers who peddle drugs that kill should be locked up for a very long time — for the rest of their life, in some cases. A state representative who heard the story felt the same way. With a piece of legislation introduced this year, he joined lawmakers around the country who have been pushing for murder or manslaughter charges in a get-tough campaign against people who supply drugs that cause fatal overdoses, in efforts to curb the opioid overdose crisis. (Collins, 2/25)
First responders in Concord, Dunbarton, Epping, Hooksett and Laconia have received an initial round of grant funding to help connect people who suffer from substance abuse with emergency services. The Executive Council approved the multimillion-dollar federal grant last week, with the most money so far awarded to Concord to help firefighters and police officers combat the opioid crisis. Concord received nearly $127,000 to implement the program and hire a contract employee to be the in-house opioid program manager for the fire department, said Concord fire Chief Dan Andrus. (2/24)
After reviewing the topic for more than six months, a state commission is likely to note in its final report next week that safe consumption sites are an effective tool for preventing opioid overdose deaths. What comes after that, though, remains the question. (Lisinski, 2/23)
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