Coming Clean: The Drug Crisis
Beginning this morning NEWSRADIO WHLM presents Coming Clean: The Drug Crisis. Our week long series will expose just how bad the drug epidemic is in columbia county, by talking with local experts. Our guest this morning will be Max Furek, co-founder of the Berwick Anti-Drug Alliance, who will give us an overview of the problems that we are facing and what we can do about them. That will be in our 8:30 segment of the WHLM Morning Buzz.
More than one in three American adults — 35 percent — were given painkiller prescriptions by medical providers last year. The total rate of painkiller use is even higher — 38 percent — when you factor in the number of adults who obtained painkillers for misuse via other means, from friends or relatives, or via drug dealers.
In 2014, according to the CDC, opioid painkillers killed nearly 19,000 Americans. That's greater than the total number of Americans (15,809) who were murdered that year.
A recent investigation by the Center for Public Integrity found that when it comes to lobbying, pro-painkiller groups outspend groups arguing for tighter restrictions by more than 200-to-1.
Drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the US, with 47,055 lethal drug overdoses in 2014. Opioid addiction is driving this epidemic, with 18,893 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 10,574 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2014.
**These Stats do not include drug related deaths such as gang violence and suicide**
From 1999 to 2008, overdose death rates, sales and substance use disorder treatment admissions related to prescription pain relievers increased in parallel. The overdose death rate in 2008 was nearly four times the 1999 rate; sales of prescription pain relievers in 2010 were four times those in 1999; and the substance use disorder treatment admission rate in 2009 was six times the 1999 rate.
In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids, which is more than enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills.
Four in five new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers.
94% of respondents in a 2014 survey of people in treatment for opioid addiction said they chose to use heroin because prescription opioids were "far more expensive and harder to obtain."
Adolescents (12 to 17 years old)
In 2014, 467,000 adolescents were current non-medical users of pain reliever, with 168,000 having an addiction to prescription pain relievers.
In 2014, an estimated 28,000 adolescents had used heroin in the past year, and an estimated 16,000 were current heroin users. Additionally, an estimated 18,000 adolescents had heroin a heroin use disorder in 2014.
People often share their unused pain relievers, unaware of the dangers of non-medical opioid use. Most adolescents who misuse prescription pain relievers are given them for free by a friend or relative.
The prescribing rates for prescription opioids among adolescents and young adults nearly doubled from 1994 to 2007.
Facts on 12 Step programs
Zachary Dodes author of "The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry" says Peer reviewed studies peg the success rate of AA somewhere between five and 10 percent... About one of every 15 people who enter these programs is able to become and stay sober.
A report published by Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly in 2000 analyzed AA membership surveys taken from 1968 through 1996. On average, 81 percent of newcomers stopped attending meetings within the first month. After 90 days, only 10 percent remained. That figure was halved after a full year.
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Kathleen Kane Sentencing
Disgraced Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane finds out her fate today. She will be sentenced on a handful of charges – including two felony counts of perjury. Kane’s attorney says she feels deep regret for violating the trust of the citizens of Pennsylvania. In her sentencing memorandum, her attorney says Kane has already been punished, as she’s resigned as attorney general, and she faces disbarment as a convicted felon. It also says she has been humbled and embarrassed and now wants to focus on raising her two sons. But prosecutors are asking for prison-time, pointing to the man whose life, they say, Kane effectively ruined.
Toomey v. McGinty
Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey and Democrat Katie McGinty are meeting for their last debate with just two weeks left in Pennsylvania’s neck-and-neck race that could help determine Senate control.
Pat Toomey / Donald Trump
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey pushed back against any idea that Trump supporters in Pennsylvania could hurt him because he hasn’t gotten behind Trump. Toomey said that there is "no reason in the world" why Trump's supporters in the state shouldn’t back him over Katie McGinty. Toomey said, "I'll tell you, anybody that is supporting Donald Trump, I can't see why in the world they would support Katie McGinty," He said that’s a choice people in Pennsylvania will have to make, but he said there's no reason they would support Katie McGinty.
The Latest on last Friday’s storm that caused flooding, mudslides and a gas pipeline to rupture. Officials say there is no indication that water supplies have been affected where a freak storm hit central Pennsylvania. Sunoco Logistics spokesman Jeff Shields said Saturday that officials haven’t seen much impact from the break that sent about 55,000 gallons of gasoline into a tributary of Loyalsock Creek. Shields said the company and environmental officials are continuing to monitor the area. Shields said skimmers and booms have been deployed but not much of the gas has been found due to the volume of water. The Friday storm dumped 7 inches of rain, it swept away two homes and one man died.
The short strike by the state teacher’s union that lasted only three days could have a far-reaching effect according to APSCUP president Ken Mash. The strike was the first in the state system’s history. Mash says the governor’s office had to get involved in the talks which he said were tough. Mash says the ordeal has damaged the relationship between the union and the state system of higher education. The faculty had been working without a contract since June of last year.
Pennsylvania Congressional Districts
A former lawmaker is one of the voices calling for a major change in the way congressional districts are drawn in Pennsylvania. Franklin Kury served as a Democrat in the state house from 1969 to 1972 and in the Senate from 1973 to 1980. He is spending some time supporting legislation to take congressional redistricting duties away from the ruling party in the state legislature. Those bills are sponsored by a Senate Democrat and a House Republican. Kury says he wants to put the decision-making in the hands of an independent commission made up of Democrats, Republicans ands Independents.
Disorderly Fans @ PSU Game
Police say disorderly fans caused some damage after Penn State's upset victory over No. 2 Ohio State on Saturday. Police said a celebratory crowd of 5,000 to 10,000 people gathered in downtown State College, mostly college-age men and women.