KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Only Four States Report Drop In Opioid-Related Hospitalizations

Nationally, the rate rose 24 percent between 2009 and 2014. Other stories on how state and local officials are coping with the opioid crisis are reported from Minnesota, Tennessee, Missouri, Maryland and Ohio.

New Orleans Times-Picayune: Opioid-Related Hospitalizations Have Dropped In Louisiana
Louisiana was one of only four states to show a decline in the rate of opioid-related hospital stays between 2009-2014, new federal data shows. During that same time period, opioid-related hospitalizations nationwide increased by a rate of nearly 24 percent. The report, published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said Louisiana showed a 6.4 percent decline in hospitalizations due to the misuse of prescription pain relievers and the use of illicit opioids like heroin and fentanyl. (Lipinski, 1/4)

St. Louis Public Radio: St. Louis County To Begin Testing Database To Prevent Opioid Abuse
After years of opposition in the Missouri legislature to a statewide program to monitor prescription drugs, St. Louis County is preparing to test its own. By using a new database, pharmacists in the county will help flag consumers who may be “doctor shopping” for highly addictive opioid-based painkillers. Missouri is the only state in the country without such a system. (Bouscaren, 1/4)

The Baltimore Sun: Harford Ends 2016 With 54 Fatal Heroin Overdoses, First Of 2017 Was 45 Minutes Into New Year
Just 45 minutes into 2017, Harford County recorded its first fatal heroin overdose – a 36-year-old white woman who died in Edgewood, police said Tuesday. Her death follows a deadly year in Harford County, when at least 54 people died of heroin overdoses, up from 28 in 2015, according to the Harford County Sheriff's Office. That's a nearly 97 percent increase in the number of fatalities in one year. The number of fatalities could increase pending results of toxicology reports in some cases still with the medical examiner's office. (Butler, 1/4)

Kaiser Health News: A Peer Recovery Coach Walks The Frontlines Of The Opioid Epidemic
Charlie Oen’s battle with addiction started when he was 16 and his family moved to Lima, Ohio. It was the last stop in a string of moves his military family made — from Panama to North Carolina, Kentucky, Texas and Germany. “I went toward a bad group because those were the people that accepted me,” he says. Drugs became a substitute for real friendships. ... One year later, he started working as a peer recovery coach, using his own experiences to help other people stay in recovery. (Herald and Sable-Smtih, 1/5)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.