drugs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is easing restrictions on one of the most effective treatments for opioid addiction.

That medication is buprenorphine, and the change makes it so healthcare professionals don’t have to get extra training to offer the medication to as many as 30 patients with opioid addiction.

Julius Schorzman

Many college students misuse prescription stimulants like Adderall. But a new study from the University of Wyoming finds that caffeine may be a safe and effective substitute.

Sarah Pack

University of Wyoming researchers are trying to model the brain when it is exposed to drugs.

A growing number of pharmacists across the country are now offering birth control directly to patients -- no doctor’s visit required. That includes pharmacists at grocery stores in the Kroger chain -- like Fred Meyers, King Soopers, City Market and Smith’s -- in addition to Albertson’s and Safeway stores.

Pharmaceutical companies are facing scrutiny over the opioid crisis, but that hasn’t stopped them from giving millions of dollars to members of Congress, including many in the Mountain West.

Wind River Wellness Court To Be Re-Established

Jul 25, 2019
NPR

The Wind River Wellness Court stopped operating after the reservation's joint Business Council disbanded in 2014. But officials from the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes say funding from the state of Wyoming and Bureau of Indian Affairs could help get it back up-and-running as early as this summer.

Operation Prevention

A 60-second public service announcement created by a junior at the Cody High School won third place in the Operation Prevention video challenge. The program aims to educate students nationally about the science behind addiction. 

On a stretch of empty highway in remote southwest Wyoming, Bryce Habel is driving his delivery route. A spring snowstorm is dumping ice pellets over the sagebrush desert.

Catherine Wheeler / Wyoming Public Media

AARP Wyoming wants to combat high prescription drug prices. The state chapter of the 50-plus advocacy organization is joining its national campaign pushing lawmakers to make policies that lower prescription prices.

Utah-based hospital system Intermountain Healthcare released new details today about its plan to start manufacturing its own generic drugs. Representatives said it’s a new approach to driving down drug prices.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting a record 72,000 people died from opioid overdoses last year. Meanwhile, a newly published study from the University of Colorado shows pet owners may be intentionally hurting their animals to get the drug for themselves.   

A state-by-state analysis of opioid prescriptions for people who visited emergency rooms with a sprained ankle show one in four patients were given opioids for pain.

The study looked at insurance claims for ER visits between 2011 and 2015.

At the low end, prescribing rates were around three percent and at the high end 40. The overall average was 25 percent.


On a recent Tuesday morning at the West Jordan library outside Salt Lake City, Peter Sadler was carefully stabbing an orange with a syringe.

Our region ranks in the top ten for suicide. A new study from the University of Utah shows there may be a reason for that.

In Wyoming, recreational use of opioid medications is most common among young adults, according to research at the Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center. That’s why an addiction advocacy group is rolling out a new campaign to educate Wyoming’s youth about misinformation they might be getting about these drugs.

Pennie Hunt

This is the first in a series about prescription opioid drug addiction in Wyoming.

Cheyenne resident Pennie Hunt knew her youngest son JT wasn’t like other kids. As lovable and creative as he was, she said, “He grew up kind of as the daredevil and I always worried about him.”

JT struggled with anxiety.  By the time he was 14, he was addicted to his prescription medication. At 15, he went to his first stint in an out-of-state rehab center.

Miles Bryan

Four years ago a judge ruled that Wyoming’s drug laws only deal with plant forms of marijuana which means that people with large amounts of edible marijuana could not face felony charges. Law enforcement agencies have asked the legislature to address the matter, but it’s been a tough battle. As Wyoming Public Radio’s Bob Beck reports neither side has been willing to budge. 

In Wyoming, pot is illegal. Not so in neighboring Colorado, where recreational marijuana is available in a variety of different forms.

Wyoming Medical Center

A study of seven rural states by the Bipartisan Policy Center found that there are challenges to health care delivery. One of the states it studied was Wyoming which has fewer doctors, higher workplace deaths and problems with substance abuse. Heidi Schultz is the Rural Healthcare Program Officer with the Helmsley Trust, which has partnered with the Bipartisan Policy Center. She tells Bob Beck that Wyoming only has 65 primary care physicians per 100,000 people, much lower than the national average. 

Darrah Perez

The Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone Tribes recently held a conference to empower their community to stand up against drugs and alcohol. On November 2, a war staff was passed to the Wyoming tribes of the Wind River Reservation by the Crow Tribe of Montana. The tribes believe with prayer and the creation of the war staff, paired with an event such as a conference, they can help address addiction, safety, and community healing.

Sunny Goggles Director of the White Buffalo Program said further education about drugs and alcohol is important.

Wikimedia Commons

Wyoming’s county commissioners recently attended a discussion on opioid addiction with a representative from Kentucky, the state with the fifth highest rate of opioid overdoses in the country. Such rates haven't hit Wyoming yet.

But Joe Markiewicz, a statewide coalition trainer for the University of Kentucky, says rural states like Kentucky and Wyoming are more prone to addiction because hospitals, care centers and government agencies are spread out, making it harder for them to act as a united front to stop it.

Christine Cabalo: http://www.mcbhawaii.marines.mil/News/News-Article-Display/Article/615289/taking-it-back-help-prevent-prescription-drug-abuse/

Prescription drug-related overdoses in Wyoming were five times higher in 2015 than in 2004, according to the Department of Health. That is one of the reasons that public health workers around the state are working to collect or deactivate medications.

Another reason is that drugs can contaminate the environment if they are flushed down the toilet or thrown away.

Tennessee Watson

A program to allow judges to mandate substance abuse treatment instead of jail time for drug offenders received final approval by the Wyoming House of Representatives on Tuesday.

House Bill 94 provides funding to support more drug courts. Proponents of the bill say the approach will save the state money overall by reducing prison costs.  

Court mandated substance abuse treatment is already an option in Wyoming, but Thermopolis Representative Nathan Winters said there’s been an uneven application of this program.

Adapt Pharma

Deputies with the Albany County Sheriff’s office and University of Wyoming police department officers have been trained to use Narcan, a nasal spray that can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses, in hopes of preventing drug-related deaths.

Opioid overdoses have been on the rise nationally, and Albany County Sheriff Dave O’Malley said the Laramie area has experienced several such deaths in the last couple of years.

It’s impossible for someone using substances to know when they might overdose, said O’Malley, partly because it’s not easy to know the strength of narcotics.

Recover Wyoming

Earlier this month, authors in a new anthology on drug and alcohol recovery in Wyoming presented their work in Cheyenne.         

Laura Griffith is the founder of Recover Wyoming in Cheyenne and a former Wyoming Department of Health Treatment Manager. In the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Division, Griffith took part in a special training called the Emerging Leaders of Recovery. 

Liam Niemeyer

Due to Wyoming’s economic downturn, a number of state agencies have been required to cut their budgets to make up for a revenue shortfall that could reach $300 million. Among the cuts is $1 million that the Wyoming Department of Corrections uses for substance abuse treatment. 

At the same time, the Wyoming Department of Health is cutting funding for local substance abuse treatment. Some worry the cuts could harm those in and out of the prison system.

Marion Orr

Many homes or apartments in Wyoming are contaminated by methamphetamine and if you move into one of those places, you may not know it. It can lead to health problems and be expensive to clean up. Wyoming is one of the few states that does not require disclosure of a meth-contaminated home.

Sheridan realtor Dan Casey remembers when he first got caught. Casey had a client who had bought a home during a foreclosure sale and after his client fixed the place up he tried to re-sell it. Casey said they were close to a deal when a neighbor stopped by. 

Should Wyoming High Schools Drug Test Students?

Mar 18, 2016
Micah Baldwin, Flickr Creative Commons

 

Last year, when Tongue River High School students Taylor Holiday and Kylee Knobloch were asked to come up with a project for their leadership club, they decided to tackle a real-world problem.

“There was a few kids in our school that seemed to be struggling with drugs a little bit,” says Holiday. “So we thought, ‘what if we could make the change in this school that helped kids get away from issues like that?’”

Miles Bryan

26-year-old Cameron Largent lives with his mother in a big suburban house in Rock Springs. His favorite spot at home is the basement couch, where he’s set up to play the fantasy video game World of Warcraft.

“I’m a priest,” he says. “So my job is to run around and heal people. [my character] is the highest level you can get: level 100.”

Largent has had a lot of time to level up recently: he has been sober for six months. It’s the longest he has gone without drinking for years.

Pharmacists are currently not recognized as health care providers and despite their obvious knowledge of medications, they are not currently allowed to help people manage their medication. There are two bills in Congress that could change that. Tom Menighan is the CEO of the American Pharmacists Association and he say this would help those in rural areas.

Miles Bryan

Kimberley Enyart was never interested in doing recreational drugs. But then she was in a car accident and her doctor prescribed a powerful opiate for the pain.

“It just, I don’t know it put me off in la-la land it made me feel better,” she said. “I don’t know, I loved it. I loved that high.”

When Enyart’s prescription ran out she did whatever she could to more from other doctors in town. Eventually, she moved on to dentists.

“I even had two back teeth pulled for it.”

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