Readers React: More needs to be done to curtail opioid epidemic

From The Morning Call:

Nearly 200 people came together on a rainy Saturday night in Bethlehem this past weekend at a community forum addressing the opioid epidemic.

Opioid overdoses are the leading cause of accidental deaths in our region, state and nation. We lose more than 2,000 people in Pennsylvania and more than 50,000 people nationwide each year.

Read complete article here.

Can Wisdom Teeth Removal Lead to Heroin Addiction?

Videos of people looking and sounding loopy after having their wisdom teeth removed get a lot of likes and shares on social media. The videos can be amusing, showing patients saying silly things while still groggy from the anesthesia, but a new study from the Stanford University School of Medicine is sending out a warning that pulling your wisdom teeth could lead to heroin addiction. Opioids prescribed after the procedure, like Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet, are highly addictive.

Opioids claimed the lives of a young Pennsylvania mayor and his pal

He was mayor of a Schuylkill County town at age 22. Two years later, heroin claimed his life

Michael RubinkamOf The Associated Press

Janel Firestone found her son — the 24-year-old, just resigned mayor of the tiny town of Mount Carbon, in what she assumed was a deep sleep. She tried to wake him for his overnight shift at the local supermarket, but he couldn’t be roused, even after she sprinkled him with water from a wet washcloth.

Read complete article here.

Study: Dental painkillers may put young people at risk of opioid addiction

December 3 at 11:00 AM

Dentists who prescribe opioid painkillers to teenagers and young adults after pulling their wisdom teeth may be putting their patients at risk of addiction, a new study finds.

Read complete article here.

Deadliest states for drug overdoses

From CBS News:

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publishes data about drug overdose mortality rates in every state, annually. Here is a look at the states ranked by overdose-related death rates for 2016, the most recent year available.”

Read the complete article here.

FDA approves opioid painkiller 1,000 times stronger than morphine

From USA Today:

“A new opioid tablet that is 1,000 times more potent than morphine and 10 times stronger than fentanyl was approved by the Food and Drug Administration Friday as a fast-acting alternative to IV painkillers used in hospitals.”

Read the complete article here.

10th Annual American Medicine Chest Challenge – This Saturday Nov. 10th

This Saturday, November 10, communities throughout the country will participate in the 10th Annual American Medicine Chest Challenge (AMCC) National Day of Awareness of Prescription Drug Abuse and Safe Disposal, an event that helps to raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug misuse and encourages safe disposal of prescription drugs.

Prescription drug drop boxes are available 24 hours, seven days a week in many communities and can be located using the AMCC RX Drop mobile app or at

If you cannot participate in the National Day of Awareness of Prescription Drug Abuse and Safe Disposal, you can still take the American Medicine Chest Five-Step Challenge throughout the year:

Take inventory of the medicines in your home
Dispose of any unused, unwanted and expired medicines
Secure the medicines you keep
Take your prescription as directed
Speak to children about the dangers of misusing and abusing prescription drugs

HuffPost: Opioids took the parents of nearly half of the kids in this teacher’s class

“My job as a teacher is to be a first responder to poverty,” says Greg Cruey, a middle school teacher at Southside K-8 school. “If my students learn other stuff too, that’s great.” Read the full story

Elaine Pozycki interviewed on Steppin Out Radio


Like so many moms across the country, Elaine’s son became addicted to opioid pain pills, after they were subscribed to him to treat a sports injury. And, like many moms across the country, Elaine had no clue her son was addicted to them. Sadly, her son lost his life to a heroin overdose, and Elaine set out to change the laws across the country. She founded a nationwide advocacy group that pushes for legislative change to drug policies in each state.

Listen to the full interview here.

And read the article on here.

Bleak New Estimates in Drug Epidemic: A Record 72,000 Overdose Deaths in 2017

From the New York Times:

Fentanyl is a big culprit, but there are also encouraging signs from states that have prioritized public health campaigns and addiction treatment.

Read complete article here.