KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Surgeon General Nominee’s Approach To Opioid Crisis Applauded By Experts, Advocates

They credit Indiana's state health commissioner and surgeon general nominee Jerome Adams for making life-saving strides against the epidemic in his state. Meanwhile, the drug crisis is taking its toll on medical examiner offices.

NPR: Surgeon General Nominee Pushed For Syringe Exchange In Indiana
Several weeks before President Trump nominated Indiana's state health commissioner Jerome Adams to be the next U.S. Surgeon General, Adams toured the Salvation Army Harbor Light detox center in Indianapolis, Ind., the only treatment facility in the state for people without insurance. (Forman, 7/5)

Stateline: Opioid Overdose Deaths Swamp Medical Examiners
Dr. David Fowler’s staff is scrambling to keep up with the surging stream of corpses flowing through the doors. In his 15 years as Maryland’s chief medical examiner, Fowler has seen natural disasters, train crashes and mass shootings. Heroin- and cocaine-related homicides have plagued this city for decades. But he says he’s never seen anything that compares to the opioid epidemic’s spiraling death toll. As fentanyl, carfentanil and other deadly synthetic opioids seep into the illicit drug supply, it’s only getting worse. (Vestal, 7/6)

Media outlets report on news out of Maryland, North Carolina, Connecticut, Florida and Ohio —

The Washington Post: Opioid Crisis: In Maryland, A House Of Recovery And Reckoning
The chime on Rusty Bakalar’s phone rarely signals good news. But on a Friday evening in June, as he tallied rents he’d collected from the residents of Champ House, it brought a moment of hope. On the line was Dalton Jones, 20, who the day before had walked out of the oddly shaped building in Bowie, Md., and vanished without a trace. Disappearing is against every rule of Champ House, an against-all-odds place that runs on donations and goodwill, where up to 15 men at a time fight addiction through chores and camaraderie. (Hernandez, 7/5)

The CT Mirror: Growing Number Of States Press Opioid Suits Against Stamford’s Purdue Pharma
Stamford-based Purdue Pharma, the maker of pain-killer OxyContin, is the target of an increasing number of states, counties and cities suing the pharmaceutical firm, alleging it is partly to blame for the nation’s opioid epidemic... The latest suit, filed last week by the state of Oklahoma, said Purdue and three other drug companies and their subsidiaries sought to increase their opioid sales by persuading doctors to expand the market beyond “a niche for cancer patients, the terminally ill and acute short-term pain” and to “prescribe opioids to a broader range of patients with chronic non-cancer-related pain.” (Radelat, 7/6)

Kaiser Health News: New On The Streets: Drug For Nerve Pain Boosts High For Opioid Abusers
On April 5, Ciera Smith sat in a car parked on the gravel driveway of the Rural Women’s Recovery Program here with a choice to make: go to jail or enter treatment for her addiction. Smith, 22, started abusing drugs when she was 18, enticed by the “good time” she and her friends found in smoking marijuana. She later turned to addictive painkillers, then anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax and eventually Suboxone, a narcotic often used to replace opioids when treating addiction. (Heredia Rodriguez, 7/6)

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