Governor John Bel Edwards launches online surveillance tool to track opioids in Louisiana

WVLA - Gov. John Bel Edwards along with the Louisiana Department of Health have unveiled a website dedicated to data about opioids in the state.

Researchers, academics, policy makers, health care experts and anyone else interested in Louisiana’s opioid problem now have one place to find detailed information about the scope of the epidemic.

Holidays a dangerous time for those with substance abuse

The Advocate - Nobody loves to celebrate and party like south Louisianians, and during the holiday season, there can be multiple parties on a single night. It makes for a festive season with family and friends.

But what about those with substance abuse issues? For them, holiday celebrations are dangerous territory. It’s a time when many “fall off the wagon.”

Busineses affected by growing opioid crisis

Daily Comet - The yearslong opioid epidemic is having a negative impact on employers and few employees have the knowledge or resources to handle addiction, according to a new survey by The Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.

The survey, which questioned employees and human resource professionals, showed that nearly two-thirds of them believe opioid use has caused problems for their company or will in the future.

EBR leaders release community-wide response to opioid epidemic

WAFB - Local experts in treating and preventing opioid abuse and addiction are putting together a battle plan to fight the epidemic. Doctors, police, social workers, and others have come up with some recommendations they believe will make an impact.

East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. Beau Clark says so far this year, there have been 80 opioid overdoses: 36 from heroin and 22 from fentanyl. Dr. Clark says several more cases are still pending and the market for prescription pain medications keeps opening up. “Recently, the FDA made a decision to approve a new opioid, which again, blows my mind because I’m thinking, we are in the middle of an opioid epidemic. We don’t need any more opioids,” Clark said.

Latest plan to tackle opioids in Baton Rouge? Tougher prescription policy, more community resources

The Advocate - Capital area healthcare professionals released a nine-point plan Wednesday to address the opioid epidemic locally, a plan they hope will save lives.

The "Community-Wide Response Plan to the Opioid Epidemic" was drawn up by healthcare professionals, addiction specialists and policy makers, dozens of whom attended a Wednesday summit on the issue.

Local leaders discussing “Community-Wide Response Plan to the Opioid Epidemic”

WVLA - East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner William “Beau” Clark, MD is joining East Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome at a Capital Area Human Services summit on Wednesday, November 5. 

Both local leaders are scheduled to speak at the public release of the “Community-Wide Response Plan to the Opioid Epidemic.”

According to organizers, “the plan includes nine topic areas, recommendations and action steps for addressing the opioid crisis locally.”

Babies born in withdrawal new complication in opioid cases

KALB - The expansive court case seeking to hold drugmakers responsible for the nation's opioid crisis has a new complication: How does it deal with claims covering the thousands of babies born dependent on the drugs?

Attorneys representing the children and their guardians want their claims separated from the federal case in Cleveland that involves hundreds of local governments and other entities such as hospitals. They told a skeptical panel of judges in New York on Thursday that they have different legal issues, a need for faster relief because the babies need services in the first years of their lives.

Opioids Aren’t Always the Answer for Chronic Pain Patients

The Advocate - Decorated veteran Justin Minyard struggled for years with chronic back pain. And though his prescribed opioids provided only minimal relief, he developed a dependency on them. Unfortunately, such circumstances are common, as a growing number of patients are struggling with a choice between addictive pills or the thought of living with debilitating pain.

How the Opioid Overdose and Death Epidemic Can Be Reversed

The Advocate - Opioid-related overdoses have reached epidemic proportions, claiming more than 42,000 lives in the U.S. in 2016 alone. Physicians on the front lines are working in their communities and with their patients to reverse this public health crisis.

The American Medical Association (AMA) created an Opioid Task Force in 2014, bringing together national and state medical organizations to come up with ways that practicing physicians could play a role in ending the epidemic.

President signs into law Cassidy-supported bipartisan bill on opioid regulation

The Livingston Parish News - U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), joined President Trump at the White House on Wednesday as he signed into law the Opioid Crisis Response Act (H.R. 6), bipartisan legislation that includes several provisions authored by Cassidy to combat the opioid crisis.

A big bill, by giving states and communities the resources to hopefully make lives better and to decrease the use of illegal drugs.

New Digital Tool To Help State Opioid Crisis

KADN - Louisiana is at the forefront of combating the opioid epidemic. “This places Louisiana among some of the leading states and our ability to track this epidemic,” said Dr. Joseph Kanter.

All ages, all genders and all across the state. According to the Louisiana Department of Health Administrator and Health Director, the opioid epidemic does not discriminate here in Louisiana. “In many parishes, more opioid prescriptions are written every year per individuals in that parish,” said Kanter. With a new opioid data and surveillance system, the state wants to tackle this epidemic head on.

Ochsner Health System receives $1.6 million to combat opioid strait

WVLA - Louisiana's growing opioid epidemic is causing destruction across the capital city. Ochsner Health System is hoping to make a difference with a $1.6 million grant given by the National Institutes of Health.

We're told the grant will be used over a four-year period to assist in opioid treatment and recovery across South Louisiana.

Opioid prescription drug abuse has been a major public concern in the U.S. for many years with increasing death rates due to fatal overdoses,” said Dr. Eboni Price-Haywood, Director of the Ochsner Center for Outcomes and Health Services Research.

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.