California Tribes’ Struggle With Opioids An Echo Of The Decline Of River That Once Was Their Nourishment
As the Klamath River has struggled, so has the health of Native American tribes that live along its Northern California waters. Now, it's hard to find anyone among the Yurok, the Karuk and the Hoopa Indians who has not been touched by the heroin epidemic. Meanwhile, alumni are troubled by the deaths of former students of a school that aims to help teens with drug and alcohol abuse.
The New York Times:
Sick River: Can These California Tribes Beat Heroin And History?
For thousands of years, the Klamath River has been a source of nourishment for the Northern California tribes that live on its banks. Its fish fed dozens of Indian villages along its winding path, and its waters cleansed their spirits, as promised in their creation stories. But now a crisis of opioid addiction is gripping this remote region. At the same time, the Klamath’s once-abundant salmon runs have declined to historic lows, the culmination of 100 years of development and dam building along the river. (Del Real, 9/4)
The New York Times:
‘It’s Like, Who’s Next?’: A Troubled School’s Alarming Death Rate
When four former students from the same school died within months of one another in 2015, it seemed random, a morbid coincidence. Then the number kept growing. At least seven more died the next year. Their fellow alumni, feeling more anxious with each death, started to keep count. By the time a classmate in Ohio died of a heroin overdose in October, the toll had reached at least 87. (Wilson, 9/2)
Here's a look at what's coming down the line in Congress —
Fall Legislative Preview: Opioids
The House passed more than 50 bills and a bipartisan legislative vehicle (HR 6) to carry them in late June. The legislative package is mainly composed of changes to the Medicaid and Medicare programs, but also includes other measures such as ways to prevent the importation of illicit drugs and accelerate research at the National Institutes of Health to find a nonaddictive painkiller. (Raman, 9/4)
Other news on the national drug crisis comes out of Virginia, Pennsylvania and California —
The Washington Post:
In Va., Kaine And Stewart Offer Differing Views On The Opioid Crisis
Something both candidates in Virginia’s U.S. Senate race can agree on is the fact that opioid addiction has torn through the state, with 1,229 people dead from overdoses last year and thousands more in prison for crimes related to addiction. Where Republican Corey A. Stewart and Sen. Tim Kaine (D) disagree is the cause behind the growing problem and how to fix it, differences the candidates have highlighted while touring areas of the state that have been hit hardest by what officials deemed a public health emergency in 2016. (Olivo, 9/3)
For Parents Of Teenagers In Addiction, Treatment Is Expensive, Daunting — And Increasingly Hard To Find
Learning that their child is struggling with a substance-use disorder is any parent's nightmare. But, especially if the child is still a minor, that realization is often coupled with another overwhelming question: Where can you turn for help? (Whelan, 9/4)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Safe-Injection Legal Battle Brewing In SF — Health Intervention Or Drug Den?
If Gov. Jerry Brown goes along, San Francisco plans to establish what could be the nation’s first legal, supervised safe injection site for drug users. But there’s a potentially serious legal obstacle: a 3-decade-old federal law that was directed at shutting down dens of crack cocaine dealers and users. (Egelko, 9/2)
AmerisourceBergen Must Ship Opioids To "High-Volume" Pharmacy, Court Rules
For a year, lawmakers here have made bogeymen of pharmaceutical wholesalers, accusing the corporations of accelerating the opioid crisis by callously dumping addictive pain drugs into small towns that didn’t need them. But now, a federal court is flipping the script. The U.S. District Court in Alaska ruled this month that the drug distributor AmerisourceBergen must continue to ship opioids to a pharmacy in Anchorage, Alaska, even though the distributor itself flagged the orders as excessive and suspicious. (Facher, 8/31)