drugs

FIle Photo / Kansas News Service

Anecdotal evidence from prosecutors across the state indicates opioid abuse is growing in Kansas, Attorney General Derek Schmidt said, but he urged lawmakers not to forget the state’s ongoing methamphetamine problem.

Schmidt answered questions about the issue Thursday from a panel of lawmakers in Topeka.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

In May, local Drug Enforcement Administration agents, along with Kansas City police, raided a house in Kansas City, Kansas.

What they found surprised them: 16 pounds of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

"We had no idea that it was 100 percent fentanyl," says DEA special agent Troy Derby.

But they were certainly aware of the risks of even a minute amount of the powerful opioid.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

It was a clear night in late July 2016 on the 3600 block of Askew Avenue on Kansas City’s East Side.

But inside one home, a fight was brewing. It was just after midnight, the police report would later say, when Lon’Nasha Tate opened the freezer to find that the ice cream she had saved for her kids was half empty.

frankieleon / Flickr - CC

While communities across the country deal with dramatic increases in illegal opioid use, statistics in Johnson County suggest rates of death and addiction closer to home are relatively more stable.

Court filings involving opioid offenses have remained relatively flat in recent years, and illegal use has decreased for hydrocodone and oxycodone, two of the most popular opiates, according to a report from public health and crime experts presented to the Johnson County Commission in June. Heroin use remains steady.

Despite those encouraging numbers, local officials are wary.

Tex Texin / Wikimedia Commons

Kansas City's ongoing violent crime problem is no secret. Today, we hear from two former presidents of the Board of Police Commissioners, Jeff Simon and Pat McInerney, who offer their thoughts on solving the city's preeminent hurdle. Then, we examine how a wall between the U.S. and Mexico would (or would not) affect existing tensions over immigration, crime, trade and more.

Ryan Bavetta / Flickr - CC

It's easy to claim that Mexican immigrants, workers or political policies are what ails the American economy, but the problem is more complex than that. Today, we learn why simple solutions won't solve complicated issues between the United States and its southern neighbor. Then, we meet a journalist and author who toured small towns throughout the Midwest, and was pleasantly surprised by the resilience and hope she found in them.

The state of Missouri filed suit Wednesday against three major drug companies, alleging they fueled the nation’s opioid epidemic with a campaign of false advertising and fake claims.

On the steps of St. Louis Circuit Court, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said he would seek “hundreds of millions of dollars” in damages against Purdue Pharma L.P., Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.

Phil Roeder / Flickr - CC

Drawing voting districts to favor one party or another, a process known as gerrymandering, is widely considered a key factor behind the country's intensely partisan climate. Today, we discuss the practice of "packing and cracking" in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's announcement this week to take up the issue.

Adapt Pharma

Kansas is one of three states that doesn’t allow first responders to carry a drug to reverse opioid overdoses.

Rep. Greg Lakin, a Republican from Wichita, wants to get the state off that exclusive list. A bill in the House Health and Human Services Committee would allow first responders to carry medication to reverse opioid overdoses.

Nearly 200 pounds of narcotics are off the streets of St. Louis today.

The St. Louis division of the Drug Enforcement Administration has announced the results of a year and a half long operation that resulted in 36 arrests and the seizure of 190 pounds of methamphetamine as well as heroin, weapons and cash totaling more than $1 million.

The methamphetamine alone carries a street value of more than $3 million.

www.imdb.com

Caught in between Republican and Democratic national conventions during this presidential election cycle, Up To Date's indie, foreign and documentary film critics have a few picks this weekend to help you unplug from the political skirmishes across the nation. 

Robert Butler

Wiener-Dog, R

Drug And Device Makers Find Receptive Audience At For-Profit, Southern Hospitals

Jun 29, 2016

Where a hospital is located and who owns it make a big difference in how many of its doctors take meals, consulting and promotional payments from pharmaceutical and medical device companies, a new ProPublica analysis shows.

A higher percentage of doctors affiliated with hospitals in the South have received such payments than doctors in other regions of the country, our analysis found. And a greater share of doctors at for-profit hospitals have taken them than at nonprofit and government facilities.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

Physicians associated with Kansas and Missouri hospitals received about $46 million in payments from drug and medical device companies in 2014, with about 9 percent going to providers in the Kansas City area.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

In 2014, opioid abuse accounted for more than 28,000 deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Missourians accounted for more than 1,000 of those deaths, according to Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, and last week a bill negotiated by Blunt and approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee hiked federal funding to combat opioid abuse to $261 million, a 93 percent increase over last year’s amount.  

File photo

The Kansas Legislature added several patient protection measures to a bill allowing “step therapy” for Medicaid drugs before passing the legislation early Monday morning.

Advocates for Kansans with mental illness and other conditions were pleased with the changes but remain concerned about the possible effects of the underlying bill on vulnerable patients.

Step therapy requires Medicaid patients to try the least expensive medications for treating their ailments first. If those fail, they can then “step up” to a more expensive alternative.

Martin Shkreli made headlines when his company raised the price of a decades-old drug more than 5000%.  That's an extreme example of the rising cost of prescription drugs.  We look at others and the reasons that many patients are unable to afford the medicines they need.

Guests:

When we explored the life of Charlie Parker earlier this year, we were told that you can't talk about the history of jazz without talking about drugs. Is that true about the arts in general?

Guests:

  • Jan Schall, curator, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
  • Clancy Martin, writer
  • Chuck Haddix, host, The Fish Fry on KCUR

Imported Meth Finds Its Way To Missouri

Sep 21, 2015

Methamphetamine production has declined significantly in Missouri, but users of the drug have not decreased  due to a cheaper version coming from Mexico. Steve Kraske talks with Jim Salter of the Associated Press about the new supply and why Kansas City has more access to it.

Feuding motorcycle gangs have made national headlines after Sunday's deadly fight in Waco, Texas. On this edition of Up To Date, reporter Sam Zeff speaks with Steve Cook, who's with the Midwest Outlaw Motorcycle Gang Investigators Association, about motorcycle clubs in the Kansas City area. 

Alex Smith / Heartland Health Monitor

Glenn Helverson has a job that’s all about speed.

For most of the last 25 years he’s been a driver with the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District. But he’s been slowed down at times by a health issue that appeared at an early age.

“I think I first noticed signs of arthritis when I was eighteen,” Helverson says.

Today his rheumatoid arthritis pain is kept at bay with a new-generation injectable drug called Cimzia.

“Without the medications I’ve had, I probably would’ve already been retired with disability,” he says.

Legislators heard emotional testimony Thursday from an Emporia woman about a bill to allow access to drugs in preliminary federal testing.

They also heard questions about whether the “Right to Try” legislation is sound policy or an ideological quest that will give terminal patients false hope.

Versions of “Right to Try” have passed in Missouri, Colorado, Arizona, Michigan and Louisiana.

Law enforcement dogs these days can do some incredible things: sniffing out the chemicals used to start an arson fire, getting illegal drugs off our streets, or finding evidence in shootings and explosives investigations.

On this edition of Up to Date, host Steve Kraske meets three law enforcement dogs, and their handlers, to find out what it takes for a dog to become a key part of a law enforcement team.

Roxi 

Alex Smith / KCUR

Missouri has a distinction that troubles many involved in public health: It's the only state in the country that does not monitor prescription drugs.

Some say that heightens the problem of prescription drug abuse.

Missouri legislators are trying to create a drug monitoring system, but concerns over privacy have stirred opposition.

Rising abuse

Google Commons

A doctor looking to help a patient prescribes a medication for a condition it was not originally marketed to treat. How legal, and how risky the off-label use of prescription drugs?On Thursday's Up To Date  Steve Kraske talks with a pharmacist about just how common this practice is among physicians and why drug companies don’t market their products for multiple uses.  

Guest:

Rick Couldry is Director of Pharmacy at the University of Kansas Hospital. 

The tragic death of actor and director Philip Seymour Hoffman has shed light on heroin and opiate use in America. Right here in Kansas City, opiate-based drugs are more popular than ever and the results have been devastating. Central Standard takes a look at why Kansas and Missouri residents are using these lethal substances and what impact heroin addiction has had on one local family.

Guests:

Addiction

Dec 2, 2012
Miles Cave / flickr

The holidays are a time to gather with friends and family in cheer.  The holidays also are a time of high stress and anxiety which can lead to addictive behaviors.


Kansas City Star

As head of one of the most successful drug operations, Alejandro Corredor moved hundreds of pounds of cocaine, meth, and marijuana from Mexico through Kansas City.

Baseball’s Willie Mays Aikens has done a lot of living in his 57 years.  He’s now a hitting instructor for the Kansas City Royals, something he knows a thing or two about: he was the first major leaguer in history to hit two home runs in a game twice in the same series.

The Race To Create The Best Antiviral Drugs

Apr 17, 2012

If you've ever had a bacterial infection like staph or strep throat, your doctor may have prescribed penicillin. But if you've had the flu or a common cold virus, penicillin won't work. That's because antibacterials only kill bacteria, and both the flu and the common cold are viruses. So for illnesses like the flu, doctors prescribe antiviral drugs, which target the mechanisms that viruses use to reproduce.

Tens of millions of Americans turn to powerful painkillers to ease their sufferings. But an analysis on the sales of two prescription drugs over a decade is particularly worrisome.

Check out The Associated Press' interactive map at the end of this post. It uses data from the Drug Enforcement Agency to show how sales of oxycodone and hydrocodone ballooned from 2000-10.

You can click on individual states to see which areas had the biggest increases.

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