• Opioid Overdoses Are Rising Faster Among Latinos Than Whites Or Blacks. Why?
    The tall, gangly man twists a cone of paper in his hands as stories from nearly 30 years of addiction pour out: the robbery that landed him in prison at age 17; never getting his high school equivalency diploma; going through the horrors of detox, maybe 40 times, including this latest bout, which he finished two weeks ago. He’s now in a residential treatment unit for at least 30 days. “I’m a serious addict,” said Julio Cesar Santiago, 44. “I still have dreams where I’m about to use drugs, and I have to wake up and get on my knees and... Read more »
  • Reversing An Overdose Isn’t Complicated, But Getting The Antidote Can Be
    A few months ago, Kourtnaye Sturgeon helped save someone’s life. She was driving in downtown Indianapolis when she saw people gathered around a car on the side of the road. Sturgeon pulled over, and a man told her there was nothing she could do: Two men had overdosed on opioids and appeared to be dead. “I kind of recall saying, ‘No man, I’ve got Narcan,'” she said, referring to a brand-name version of the opioid overdose antidote, naloxone. “Which sounds so silly, but I’m pretty sure that’s what came out.” Sturgeon sprayed a dose of the drug up the driver’s nose and... Read more »
  • Will We Still Be Relevant ‘When We’re 64’?
    A gnawing sense of irrelevancy and invisibility suddenly hits many aging adults, as their life roles shift from hands-on parent to empty nester or from workaholic to retiree. Self-worth and identity may suffer as that feeling that you matter starts to fade. Older adults see it in the workplace when younger colleagues seem uninterested in their feedback. Those who just retired might feel a bit unproductive. New research suggests this perception of becoming irrelevant is very real. And that’s why some seniors are determined to stay social, remain relevant and avert the loneliness often linked with aging. “As people get older, there... Read more »
  • For The Babies Of The Opioid Crisis, The Best Care May Be Mom’s Recovery
    CARRBORO, N.C. — The halls at UNC Horizons day care are quiet at 5 p.m. Amanda Williammee pauses at the toddler classroom window to watch 2-year-old daughter Taycee. “I like to peek in on her and see what she’s doing before she sees me,” Williammee nearly whispers. “I love watching her, it’s too funny.” Treating The Tiniest Opioid Patients Tiny Opioid Patients Need Help Easing Into Life Mar 28 A Nurse’s Lesson: Babies In Opioid Withdrawal Still Need Mom Mar 29 Pregnant And Addicted: The Tough Road To A Healthy Family Mar 30 A Crisis With Little Data: States Begin To Count Drug-Dependent Babies Mar 31 There’s a dance party in progress... Read more »
  • Listless And Lonely In Puerto Rico, Some Older Storm Survivors Consider Suicide
    HUMACAO, P.R. — A social worker, Lisel Vargas, recently visited Don Gregorio at his storm-damaged home in the steep hillsides of Humacao, a city on Puerto Rico’s eastern coast near where Category 4 Hurricane Maria first made landfall last September. Gregorio, a 62-year-old former carpenter who lives alone, looked haggard. He said he had stopped taking his medication for depression more than a week earlier and hadn’t slept in four days. He was feeling anxious and nervous, he said, rubbing his bald head and fidgeting with the silver watch on his wrist. His voice monotone and barely audible, he told Vargas... Read more »
  • Use Of Psychiatric Drugs Soars In California Jails
    Listen here to Anna Gorman discuss her story on KQED. Can’t see the audio player? Click here to download. The number of jail inmates in California taking psychotropic drugs has jumped about 25 percent in five years, and they now account for about a fifth of the county jail population across the state, according to a new analysis of state data. The increase could reflect the growing number of inmates with mental illness, though it also might stem from better identification of people in need of treatment, say researchers from California Health Policy Strategies (CHPS), a Sacramento-based consulting firm. Amid a severe shortage of... Read more »
  • Alarming Suicide Rate Jolts Texas Community Into Action
    TYLER, Texas — In the heart of northeast Texas, Tyler’s rolling landscape is dotted with churches and historical homes, and the city is known for its roses and flowering gardens. But the community also is shadowed by a grim statistic, one that leaders are striving to better understand and address. Smith County, which encompasses Tyler and is home to more than 225,000 residents, has the highest suicide rate among the state’s 25 most populous counties. From 2012 to 2016, there were 17 suicides annually per 100,000 residents, compared with 12.2 suicides statewide during the same five-year stretch, according to the most recent... Read more »
  • Listen: Device Is Said To Ease Opioid Withdrawal, But Does The Evidence Support It?
    The Bridge looks something like a hearing aid or a futuristic earring, and its makers claim that the device mitigates the misery of withdrawal sickness from opioids. With a small electrical pulse, it creates a “bridge” that may get people with addiction through flu-like withdrawal symptoms and on to medicines that can control cravings once opioids are cleared from a patient’s system. But there’s a problem. Scientific evidence doesn’t yet show the Bridge works. Side Effects Public Media reporter Jake Harper spoke to NPR’s Rachel Martin about his investigation into the Bridge and how it has been marketed to politicians and treatment... Read more »
  • Family Caregivers Are Getting A Break — And Extra Coaching
    WASHINGTON — For today, there are no doctor’s visits. No long afternoons with nothing to do. No struggles over bathing — or not. At the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., a group of older adults — some in wheelchairs, some with Alzheimer’s — and their caregivers sit in a semicircle around a haunting portrait of a woman in white. “Take a deep breath,” said Lorena Bradford, head of accessible programs at the National Gallery, standing before “The Repentant Magdalen” by Georges de La Tour. “Now, let your eyes wander all over the painting. Take it all in. What do you think... Read more »
  • Tax-Funded Mental Health Programs Not Always Easy To Find
    Back in 2008, Mary Hogden was homeless, living on the streets of Berkeley, Calif. “I got beat up really badly out there,” says Hogden, 62. “It’s not a safe place for women.” She landed in the hospital and then in a boarding home for adults with mental illness. But her big break came when she started volunteering for a mental health program called the Pool of Consumer Champions, run by Alameda County. Participants, who offer each other support, also advise the county’s behavioral health division on how to better meet consumers’ needs. The county has adopted some of the group’s recommendations, Hogden says. “People... Read more »