Addiction

Charles Willams / Flickr/CC

Heroin pills. That’s how Andrew Kolodny describes oxycodone, one of the most widely prescribed – and abused – narcotic painkillers in the U.S. 

Kolodny is executive director of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing and senior scientist at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. He joined The Exchange this week to discuss the opioid crisis – its origins and how states, including New Hampshire, are trying to overcome it.

Prescribing Opioids During an Addiction Epidemic

Apr 14, 2016
Charles Williams / Flickr/CC

State lawmakers, doctors, and others in the medical profession have been hammering out new guidelines for prescribing these drugs to tackle the issue of over-use and alleviate the addiction crisis. We'll get the latest on this discussion and also find out how New Hampshire's approach compares with other states.

New Hampshire Senate
Allegra Boverman / NHPR

New Hampshire child protection officials would have more power to intervene when a parent is abusing drugs or a child is born drug dependent under a bill adopted by the state’s senate. The bill passed unanimously but not without debate.

The bill defines opioid abuse or dependence by a parent as neglect under New Hampshire's Child Protection Act. Right now that law doesn't identify specific conduct by parents as being sufficient to trigger neglect proceedings.

Addressing N.H.'s Addiction Counselor Shortage

Mar 1, 2016
Phoenix House Academy of Dublin / Flickr/CC

As overdose deaths skyrocket,  there's been a statewide call for more access to drug treatment, and more funding for it.  But treatment centers are scrambling to find and keep enough trained staff to meet the demand.  Chronic issues, such as low pay and bureaucracy add to the burden of helping a patient through recovery.

Jack Rodolico

The New Hampshire Insurance Department is trying to figure out if the state's largest insurance companies are covering opioid treatment the way the law requires.

The preliminary findings of the department's ongoing investigation are inconclusive.

File Photo

The 72-acre, sprawling campus of Lakeview NeuroRehabilitation Center - with about a dozen buildings overlooking lakes and mountains - has always been used as a place to treat people with brain injuries or developmental disabilities. But there has always been controversy too.

    

In 1992 the FBI raided the site when they suspected the original owners of fraud. And then last year, after the Disability Rights Center put out a scathing report on Lakeview’s practices, the state shut it down. The place was notorious for poor care. But Eric Spofford hopes to change all that.

Josh Rogers/NHPR

Jack Wozmak says with the legislature presently focused on the opioid crisis, now is a good time for him to step down as the state's so-called "drug czar." (Click here to read his resignation letter.) 

Greta Rybus for NPR

When Jack O'Connor was 19, he was so desperate to beat his addictions to alcohol and opioids that he took a really rash step. He joined the Marines.

"This will fix me," O'Connor thought as he went to boot camp. "It better fix me or I'm screwed."

After 13 weeks of sobriety and exercise and discipline, O'Connor completed basic training, but he started using again immediately.

"Same thing," he says. "Percocet, like, off the street. Pills."

Brian Wallstin/NHPR

For years, Chris Clough prescribed more pain medication than almost anyone else in New Hampshire.

Along the way, state regulators say, he broke nearly every rule in the book.

Andreas Levers / Flickr/cc

Roughly seventeen million Americans suffer from alcoholism, making it the country’s most prevalent addiction. We’ll look at efforts in New Hampshire to address this. Plus, we’ll hear from critics and supporters of the most commonly prescribed approach to treating the disease, Alcoholics Anonymous.

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

  It’s difficult to help anyone who is struggling with a drug addiction problem. But helping a teenager comes with a unique set of obstacles. 

Paige Sutherland for NHPR

Presidential candidates usually hit the campaign trail carrying a long list of issues they hope to talk about. But lately, voters in New Hampshire have been forcing an issue of their own into candidates’ stump speeches: the state’s ongoing opioid crisis.

Courtesy Photo

Chris Rocket has been in prison for 19 years. His convictions are for second degree murder and robbery. The crimes, he says, were the result of an alcohol addiction.

His addiction to heroin and prescription drugs?

He got hooked on those while incarcerated at the state prison in Berlin.


Courtesy Keene Serenity Center

For years, advocates for people with addiction problems have been working to create a viable recovery system for New Hampshire. New organizations in Keene, Manchester and Portsmouth are working to help people stay away from addictive drugs. But the state still has a long way to go. 

Andres Rodriguez / Flickr / Creative Commons

We continue our discussion on the heroin epidemic in the Granite State with a focus on prevention.  Given the record numbers of drug overdoes deaths in New Hampshire, we’ll ask what steps health providers, educators, law enforcement, and other members of the community are taking to stop drug use before it starts.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

As the heroin crisis in New Hampshire continues, and the number of overdoses grows, communities around the state are addressing the issues with increasing urgency.

New Hampshire is in the midst of a drug epidemic. The state’s Medical Examiner’s office says drug-related deaths have risen to a record high of 300 in 2014. To combat the most addictive drugs, lawmakers will consider tripling funding for the Governor’s Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Recovery.

Of those three things, recovery services are severely lacking in New Hampshire, compared to neighboring states.

B.A.D. via Flickr CC

As the number of heroin-related deaths and hospital visits rise in New Hampshire, health officials have started a website directory for locating drug treatment services in the state.

The site, www.nhtreatment.org, was developed to help people in need of alcohol and drug abuse treatment find available service providers.

Joe Harding, director of the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services, said the site also will enable providers who provide treatment to easily register to list their services.

The Economic Impact Of Substance Abuse In N.H.

Dec 17, 2014
Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr/CC

On top of individual suffering, a recent report finds alcohol and drugs also take a toll on workforce productivity and the state’s fiscal well-being -- to the tune of nearly two billion dollars.  The authors say policy makers and business leaders should consider addressing this as way to help bolster the state’s economy.

GUESTS:

Taber Andrew Bain

A task force appointed by the governor says first responders need quick and easy access to a drug that’s been proven to save lives during a heroin overdose.

There were over 1,200 drug related emergency calls in NH last year. Seventy people died from heroin overdoses.

But the drug task force’s expects higher numbers in 2014, which is why it wants first responders to have easy access to a nasal spray called naloxone. That drug has proven to be effective in saving the lives of people in the throes of an opioid overdose.

Drug and alcohol abuse put a $1.84 billion strain on the New Hampshire economy in 2012, according to a new study. That figure was almost three percent of the state’s GDP in that same year.

BagoGames via Flickr CC

 In April 2010, WTF host Marc Maron sat down to speak with Robin Williams. Following the news of Williams’ death on August 11, Maron reflected back on that interview and shared some of his thoughts on a conversation that he considers life-changing. The interview is at times delicate, as Williams talks about his battle with addiction and depression, but it also raised a new perspective the comedian which people had rarely seen before.

kiss kiss bang bang via Flickr Creative Commons

In 1994, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine confirmed what anybody who’s tried to give up coffee suspected: caffeine is chemically addictive. It’s also the world’s most popular psychoactive drug… 80% of American adults consume it in some form. Withdrawal symptoms from caffeine are so dreadful that they are cited as a mental disorder in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Here to unpack the chemical effect that caffeine can have on the human brain is Joseph Stromberg, journalist and science writer based in Washington, D.C. His work has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine and Slate.

Jan Hruby via Flickr

“Internet Addiction Disorder” is a disputed diagnosis in academic and mental health circles, but just try going a day without your daily habit of checking email, the news, weather, sports, recipes, and Facebook, and you may find yourself jonesing for access.

Photo Courtesy Augusten Burroughs

It's been ten years since Augusten Burroughs' memoir Dry was published. In that decade, the author of Running With Scissors has gotten married, stayed sober, and written a self-help book, This is How: Surviving What You Think You Can't, now out in paperback.