Drug Addiction

Governor Tom Wolf / Flickr

Pennsylvanians working in the behavioral health care field have the chance to receive money from the state to pay off student loan debt.

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Addiction treatment needs to be integrated with other aspects of patients’ lives, according to presenters at the Pittsburgh-based Institute for Research, Education and Training in Addictions. Those aspects include stable housing and employment, adequate social support and other chronic health issues.

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Most overdose fatalities in Pennsylvania continue to be opioid related, but deaths associated with methamphetamine and other stimulants are also on the rise, according to a new analysis from the University of Minnesota State Health Access Data Center. 

Mel Evans / AP

A new study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health finds that opioid-related overdose deaths are being underreported, and this means the epidemic may be worse than it appears.

Potentially 70,000 opioid-related overdose deaths were not included in national estimates between 1999 and 2015. Researchers estimates that 1,307 of those deaths where in Pennsylvania, the largest number of any state.

Tim Betler / UPMC

A new combined 27-bed addiction rehabilitation-detox facility will soon open at UPMC McKeesport.

Toby Talbot / AP

As part of the effort to fight opioid addiction, Pennsylvania state Sen. Jay Costa (D - Forest Hills) has proposed a bill that would allow courts to send people to substance abuse treatment at the request of family members.

Pittsburgh Doctor Charged In 2 Fatal Opioid Overdoses

Dec 1, 2017
Brandon Giesbrecht / flickr

A Pittsburgh area doctor was charged Friday with causing the deaths of two patients by overprescribing opioids, state prosecutors announced.

Tony Talbot / AP

The death rate in Pennsylvania from drugs, alcohol and suicide could increase 46 percent over the next decade. That’s according to a new report released by Well Being Trust, a national foundation that aims to improve mental health. 

“We’re turning to more lethal means to address our pain,” said Well Being Trust chief policy officer Benjamin Miller. He said nationwide those deaths could jump by 60 percent over the next 10 years if current trends continue.

Overcoming Opioids: Easing An Epidemic 1 Doctor At A Time

Jun 17, 2017
Carla K. Johnson / AP

Even doctors can be addicted to opioids, in a way: It's hard to stop prescribing them.

Melissa Jones is on a mission to break doctors of their habit, and in the process try to turn the tide of the painkiller epidemic that has engulfed 2 million Americans.

It was in doctors' offices where the epidemic began, and it's in doctors' offices where it must be fought. So Jones is using some of the same tactics pharmaceutical sales forces used to push their potent pills into communities — this time, to get them out.

Behind The Headlines: Pennsylvania's Opioid Crisis Up-Close

May 10, 2017
Jessica Kourkounis / Keystone Crossroads

To be addicted

With an increasing number of opioid overdoses in Pennsylvania, attention from state and local officials is growing as well as public attention around the issue. In 2015, there were more than 3,500 drug related overdose deaths in the state, which marked a sharp increase from the previous year. In Philadelphia, 900 people died as a result of overdoses, which is three times the number of homicide victims.

You don’t wake up and say, ‘I want to be a heroin addict.’