Congress OKs opioid legislation in show of bipartisanship

KPLC - Setting aside the Supreme Court fight, members of Congress this week approved bipartisan legislation aimed at curbing the devastating opioid addiction across the country.

But the Support for Patients and Communities Act, which President Donald Trump said he would sign into law, has political implications. It includes contributions from at least 70 lawmakers, some of whom face tough re-election campaigns in November. The measure, which the Senate passed 98-1 on Wednesday and the House approved 393-8 on Sept. 28, ensures incumbents have something positive to campaign on in the final weeks before the election.

Download Louisiana’s opioid refusal form

WAFB - It’s now easier to tell your doctor you don’t want opioid prescriptions. The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) recently released its Voluntary Non-Opioid Directive Form as a new tool in the fight against opioid abuse. The idea is to keep more of the medications out of homes and off the streets.

Signing the pledge means you refuse the offer or administration of opioid medications, like oxycodone and morphine. Your doctor also signs the form to be released from responsibility for the consequences of your opioid refusal. The form then goes in your medical file.

Opioids: How physician anesthesiologists are treating pain responsibly

The Ouachita Citizen - The opioid crisis has made physicians increasingly wary about prescribing the potentially addictive drugs to their patients in pain. Experts in pain medicine, such as physician anesthesiologists, are creating individualized pain management plans that include alternatives to opioids that are not only safer, but often work better.

St. Mary Parish lands grant to address opioid abuse

KATC - St. Mary Parish government drug court has been awarded at $500,000 federal grant to aid in the battle against opioid abuse.

The grant is part of $320 million in grants the Department of Justice has issued to combat the opioid crisis across the United States. In St. Mary Parish, the $500,000 will be used for the improvement, enhancement or expansion of drug court services. The grants are provided to agencies within the Western District of Louisiana through the Office of Justice Programs.

Forum addresses concern of opioid use in community

The Town Talk - Megan D. Fontenot, licensed professional counselor and State Targeted Response Project director, was among the panelists for "A Public Conversation: Opioids in Our Community" forum held Friday, Sept. 20, 21, 2018 at Kees Park Community Center in Pineville.

Information on opioids was provided to community agencies in the region and training on the use of Narcan which is used in overdose emergencies.

BR Health District to host opioid epidemic forum

WVLA - The Baton Rouge Health District will host a presentation and discussion on the opioid epidemic with Dr. Anna Lembke Thursday evening.

On Thursday, September 21, 2018, Dr. Lembke will have an open forum on her book, Drug Dealer MD – How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked, and Why It’s So Hard to Stop.

Immediately following Dr. Lembke’s presentation, clinical leadership from the Baton Rouge Health District partner organizations will participate in a Q&A session with guests.

The event is free and open to the public.

Senate passes Opioid Crisis Response Act

KPLC - A legislative package of bills aimed to fight the opioid epidemic was approved by the Senate in a 99-1 vote.

The 70-bill package includes incentives for the development of non-addictive pain medications, ensuring state share data from the Prescription Drug Monitoring programs, funding requiring the FDA to provide opioids in smaller quantities, and measures making the mailing of illegal opioids more difficult.

New Woman's Hospital program targets growing problem of babies born to opioid-addicted moms

The Advocate - The number of women in those situations has risen sharply over the past several years in Louisiana, and the rate of Louisiana babies exposed to opioids in the womb who later went through painful withdrawals quadrupled between 2005 and 2015. Women who have been through the ordeal have described struggling during their pregnancies to find acceptance and help to overcome their addictions.

Now, a new program is being launched in Louisiana that hospital leaders and state officials say they hope will address that problem. 

St. Charles Sheriff advocates lowering opioid prescriptions

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St. Charles Herald Guide - From prosecutor to sheriff, Greg Champagne witnessed firsthand the emergence of the opioid crisis and it’s why he knows it’s a problem so prevalent that it has to be addressed on multiple fronts.

“As a prosecutor in the 80s and early 90s, I saw no heroin cases,” said Champagne. “Now, since the Mexican cartels have implemented it as their main product, it is everywhere.”

'We'll meet him again:' Families remember those lost to overdoses

Town Talk - The faces are smiling, with the exception of the stoic U.S. Marine, but the photos represent heartache for each family who donated them to a memorial wall on Friday.

A group formed by Lilly Harvey, a woman who has battled addiction and lost her daughter to a fentanyl overdose in 2017, held an event in Alexandria City Park that coincided with International Overdose Awareness Day.

Mom's use of opioids in pregnancy may stunt kids' learning

WVUE - Learning disabilities and other special education needs are common in children born with opioid-related symptoms from their mother's drug use while pregnant, according to the first big U.S. study to examine potential long-term problems in these infants.

About 1 in 7 affected children required special classroom services for problems including developmental delays and speech or language difficulties, compared with about 1 in 10 children not exposed to opioids before birth, the study found.

New Orleans, Chinese officials announce international investigation into fentanyl ring

The Advocate - For years, U.S. officials have complained that Chinese laboratories are a major source of illicit fentanyl, the potent opioid that has driven a stunning increase in overdose deaths on this side of the Pacific.

On Wednesday, Chinese and American law enforcement officers stood side-by-side at the U.S. Custom House in New Orleans to announce what they billed as a first-of-its-kind joint investigation into fentanyl production.