drugs

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Washington Governor Jay Inslee has issued an executive order to address the state’s opioid epidemic. The order directs state agencies, tribal governments and private partners to implement a response plan that mainly focuses on prevention and treatment.

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Two law enforcement groups in Oregon say drug possession convictions should result in lighter sentences than they currently do.

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Healthcare providers in Seattle and across the country are getting more tools to help fight a drug epidemic.

The federal government has announced $2.8 million in grants to clinics in Washington. It's part of a broader plan to fight opioid abuse.

Susan Johnson is the U.S. Health and Human Services Director for the Northwest. She said there's a reason we're hearing about an epidemic.

"In Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, we lose an average of 153 people a month," Johnson said. "This was in 2014, from drug overdoses. Far more than deaths caused by car crashes."

Thousands of federal inmates were sent home Friday after their drug sentences were shortened. That includes dozens of convicts from the Northwest.

A bill headed to the Idaho House would allow friends and family members of opioid drug users to obtain medication to counteract overdoses.

Overdose Deaths in Wash. Drop Slightly

Nov 18, 2014
AP Images

The number of people dying from opiate overdoses in Washington state stayed relatively the same from 2012 to last year. The Washington State Department of Health released overdose data this week. And the figures show 227 people in the state overdosed and died from heroin last year -- 381 people overdosed and died from opiate-based prescription pain medications. In both cases that’s a slight decrease from the year before.

The highest rate of total opiate related deaths was in Southwest Washington’s Cowlitz County.

Northwest Meth Houses To Get Scrubbed Under EPA Program

Jul 25, 2014
Tacoma Housing Authority

Federal dollars meant to restore toxic areas like old factories, mines and gas stations are now going to another long-time industry: meth. For the first time, the EPA’s Brownfields program is covering the clean-up of former meth houses. And the inaugural sites are right here in the Northwest.

If you smoked Colombian weed in the '70s and '80s, Tony Dokoupil would like to thank you: He says you paid for his swim lessons and kept him in the best private school in south Florida — at least for a little while.

Dokoupil's father started selling marijuana during the Nixon era, and expanded his operation until he became a partner in what his son describes as the biggest East Coast dope ring of the Reagan years, smuggling marijuana into the U.S.

Power And Violence In Ukraine And Mexico

Feb 28, 2014

This week's headlines have been dominated by the violent protests in Kiev, the ousting of President Victor Yanukovych, and the amassing of Russian troops at the Ukrainian border. Writer Anthony Marra says that if Soviet war journalist Vasily Grossman were alive today, he'd likely be breaking news from Independence Square.

In The Wake Of Tragedy, The Possibility Of Understanding

Feb 10, 2014

The death of the brilliant actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, killed by an apparent heroin overdose at the age of 46, is a frightening reminder of the torture that is addiction. After a bout with drugs when he was younger, Hoffman was clean for two decades. But he started taking prescription pain pills in 2012 and checked into a rehab program last year. On Sunday he was found dead in a Manhattan apartment, along with dozens of small envelopes of drugs.

Lincoln County District Attourney's Office

An Oregon district attorney, who's internationally recognized for his work to curtail methamphetamine manufacturing, is leaving his job.

Greg Hernandez / Wikimedia Commons

We now know what killed Cory Monteith, one of the stars of the popular TV series "Glee." The British Columbia Coroners Service Tuesday said toxicology testing points to a fatal overdose of heroin mixed with alcohol.

Dozens Overdose At Electronic Music Festival

Jul 2, 2013

One person died and dozens became ill while attending a concert at Washington’s Gorge Amphitheater this weekend. As Paige Browning reports, drugs were a factor in many hospitalizations.

Rusty Blazenhoff / Flickr

Monday, the Seattle City Council is expected to endorse a Climate Action Plan to make Seattle “carbon neutral” by the year 2050. It’s looking to reduce energy use to meet that goal. But the council is also considering zoning for a new power-hungry business: indoor marijuana growing. 

  SALEM, Ore. – Marijuana advocates are taking their message to the Oregon capitol. A legislative panel will consider a measure Tuesday that would legalize and tax the drug. It comes as Washington state is in the process of crafting rules about how to regulate pot after voters there approved legalization.

Still, Anthony Johnson knows he's asking a lot.

"I understand that this is a heavy lift for the legislature to pass this bill this year," he says.

Drug Testing Welfare Recipients Debated In Olympia

Feb 14, 2013

OLYMPIA, Wash. – People seeking welfare assistance could face a drug test before they receive any benefits, under a bill in Olympia. Thursday, Washington lawmakers heard debate over a drug test requirement that would kick in early in the application process, if caseworkers feel it’s necessary.

Republican Rep. Jan Angel said this measure would encourage addicts to get help before receiving benefits.

“We can get someone into rehab or into treatment, and we can still feed the family.”

As Washington moves to legalize marijuana, there are fresh concerns that a parallel market for pot will continue to flourish. It’s not quite a black market. Let’s call it a “grey” market – for medical marijuana. The question now: how will highly taxed and regulated pot compete with largely unregulated medical marijuana?

On Eve Of Legalization, Concerns About Pot Law Remain

Dec 6, 2012

At the stroke of midnight, adult marijuana users will no longer be lawbreakers in Washington. But lots of legal questions remain about how marijuana commerce will work, where it’s legal to use and how the federal government will respond.

National Institutes of Health

Public health officials in the Northwest are raising concerns about a relatively new type of synthetic marijuana that’s been linked to a series of kidney failure cases in the region.

Law enforcement officers seized more than eleven thousand marijuana plants in Blaine County Idaho Thursday. The illegal grow operation was on public land in the Sawtooth National Forest near Galena Summit. Several agencies were involved.

Overdose deaths from a popular painkiller called Methadone appear to have peaked nationally. That’s according to a CDC report released Tuesday. The Northwest has one of the highest Methadone prescription rates in the country. Correspondent Austin Jenkins has more.

Photo credit: Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

More people are dying from overdoses of prescription painkillers. Some Northwest hospitals say they're combating the problem by drastically reducing the amount of prescriptions they write for the medications. Salem Hospital is the latest.

Experts say many users become addicted after initially taking painkillers for legitimate medical reasons. That's what happened to Matt Harp. He hurt his back playing college baseball. His doctor realized Harp was becoming addicted, but the Oregon man told a Salem news conference he simply visited different doctors and hospitals.

Pot Advocates Disagree Over New Initiative

Mar 26, 2012
United States Fish and Wildlife Service

 

An initiative to allow for personal marijuana use in Washington State will be on the ballot this November.

And while that initiative is getting support from many lawmakers, and even the Seattle bar association, some of the biggest critics of the proposal are other pro-marijuana groups.

Initiative 502 would allow Washington residents age 21 and over to posses an ounce of marijuana for their own personal use.

Photo by Kevin Mooney / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- The abuse of old prescription drugs has been a leading cause of accidental overdosing deaths. Now there’s a bill in the State Legislature aimed getting expired meds out of circulation. But the proposal is in danger of dying, unless it moves forward in the Senate. Ruby de Luna reports.