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Drug overdose

Picture of Jill Replogle
In Los Angeles County, the rate of deadly overdoses is much lower than the national rate. Why?
Picture of William Heisel
Drug use, misuse and addiction are so embedded in our popular culture that we have grown accustomed to seeing, hearing or reading about every permutation of the experience.
Picture of Harold Pierce
An invisible disease has been killing middle-aged white people in the San Joaquin Valley at higher rates than ever before. One doctor calls them "deaths of despair."
Picture of Leonardo Castaneda
Opioid addiction has claimed thousands of lives in San Diego County. Understanding who is dying and how addiction has changed over the last 15 years is central to confronting the addiction epidemic.
Picture of William Heisel

Our ability to pinpoint the causes behind the big increases in drug overdose deaths in recent years rest largely on one lowly piece of paperwork: the death certificate.

Picture of William Heisel

The American Pain Foundation – an industry-funded promoter of painkillers - closed its doors last week amid a federal inquiry. Here's how some top-notch journalists helped make it happen.

Picture of Alison Knezevich

When I set out to produce my fellowship series on prescription drug abuse in West Virginia, I already knew some grim statistics. Residents here are more likely than those of any other state to die of a prescription overdose. Because of high rates of chronic disease and occupational injuries, people in West Virginia also fill more prescriptions per capita than anywhere else.

Picture of Alison Knezevich

Administrators of a hot line that helps West Virginians find treatment for prescription drug abuse are worried the program will be forced to close. The Mountain State has the nation's highest rate of fatal drug overdoses, and most of those deaths involve prescription drugs. But officials with the West Virginia Prescription Drug Abuse Quitline say state leaders have not shown concern for their funding problems. The hot line launched in September 2008 with the help of $1 million from a lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, maker of the painkiller OxyContin. That money will run out next year, said Laura Lander, the program's clinical supervisor.

 

Picture of Alison Knezevich

West Virginia officials say they're disappointed that Florida's governor wants to kill a planned prescription drug monitoring program in the Sunshine State, which is a destination for people who deal pills.

Picture of Alison Knezevich

Requiring a prescription for certain cold medicines could dramatically reduce methamphetamine production in West Virginia, a national substance-abuse expert told state lawmakers.

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