Extra Extra : Drugs

In rush to find lethal injection drug, prison officials turned to a hospital

When the Louisiana Department of Corrections didn’t have the drugs it needed to execute inmate Christopher Sepulvado this January it turned to an unusual source: a hospital.

According to The Lens, the state bought 20 vials of hydromorphone from Lake Charles Memorial Hospital a week before Sepulvado’s execution. The hospital typically uses the drug to ease the suffering of patients. The private, nonprofit hospital didn’t know the drug was going to be used for an execution.

Read the story here.


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Journalists from four states recently joined IRE to discuss ...

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Disciplined doctors find work in the drug industry, running clinical trials

By matching U.S. Food and Drug Administration data on clinical researchers against records of state medical board disciplinary actions in the four most populous states, this report in Matter found dozens of reprimanded doctors who subsequently were hired by pharma to test experimental drugs in clinical trials. Some had made mistakes that left patients dead or maimed. Others were themselves addicted to narcotics.

Killers and pain: Painkiller law sends users to heroin

They started turning up in emergency rooms early last November. One after another and then another. By the time the torrent subsided in February, some 280 people had overdosed in Dutchess County from what many believed was heroin but was often street drugs laced with an exponentially stronger narcotic called fentanyl.

The overdoses and deaths are part of a longer-term resurgence of heroin, a street drug that has become plentiful, is cheap, and was, in this case, tainted. But as the dust settled and the rash of patients in cardiac and respiratory distress slowed — it most certainly has not stopped ...

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Extra Extra Monday: High-poverty schools, the troubled VA healthcare system, medical examiner accuracy

Fatally flawed: Truth gets buried under broken rules | The Charlotte Observer

In a five-part series launched Saturday, the Charlotte Observer reveals that N.C. medical examiners routinely fail to follow crucial investigative steps, raising questions about the accuracy of thousands of death rulings.

The living face the consequences. Widows can be cheated out of insurance money. Families may never learn why their loved ones died. Killers can go free.

After a medical examiner concluded David Worley died in a Harnett County car wreck last July, a funeral home discovered what the examiner missed: four stab wounds in his back. His ...

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Long wait for death certificates makes tracking overdose deaths difficult

"A death isn’t officially ruled an overdose until the state medical examiner’s office says so, usually after an autopsy and tests to confirm the presence of drugs in the person’s body. And getting those results can take months or even years, a Patriot Ledger review of death certificates on file in Quincy, Weymouth and Braintree has found. And that can make it difficult for law enforcement officials and organizations looking to combat the growing problem of opiate abuse to track its toll."

Read the Patriot Ledger's story here.

Investigation shows heroin-related deaths are not accurately counted

Elected officials, law enforcement officers and others proclaim there’s a heroin “epidemic” sweeping the country, and it’s taking hold in rural and suburban communities once considered unlikely places to find illicit drugs.

But nobody knows how many people have died.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 3,036 people died in 2010 from heroin overdoses, but due to problems with how death investigations are conducted and how those deaths are documented, the CDC estimates that its tally is at least 25 percent short, possibly more.

Read the full story from Digital First Media, published on ...

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Georgia Bureau of Investigation probes former Douglas County district attorney

According to WAGA - Atlanta, acting Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner didn't take long to clear the air and clear the decks. On his second day on the job, Fortner fired office manager Tammie Agan, her sister, her son, and another legal assistant.

An earlier I-Team investigation showed how former District Attorney David McDade used seized drug money to provide perks, high-paying second jobs and internships for Agan and her family.

McDade has always said he has done nothing wrong. Fortner says he expects “further action” in the ongoing Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe into how McDade spent seized ...

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Increase in heroin use brings longer waiting lists for addiction treatment centers in New York region

Today, the recovering addict climbs into a taxi cab at 5 a.m. every weekday for a 60-mile drive to Crouse Hospital in Syracuse, where he receives methadone treatment. And that came only after a two-month delay on the program’s waiting list, which is now often nine months or longer.

Across the Southern Tier, getting hooked on heroin is easy. Getting unhooked — in itself an onerous regimen — can be impossible because of the shortage of medication-assisted treatment programs.

Extra Extra Monday: Medicare billing, police chauffeurs, judicial ethics, patronage jobs

Dangerous Minds/Insane System | The Virginian-Pilot

But what happened in Apartment 433 was more than just another murder.

It was a window into today's mental health care: a system as dysfunctional as the clients it serves. So gutted it has little power to put away even the most dangerous for any real length of time – and almost nowhere to keep them, even if it could.

Last year's tragedy in Sen. Creigh Deeds’ family inspired at least 60 mental health bills in the General Assembly.

Nothing emerged that will keep anyone any safer from someone like Bruce Williams.


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Overdose deaths increase with sales of painkillers

Several hundred Iowans have died in recent years from overdoses involving prescription painkillers. The U.S. has seen a surge of such deaths in the past decade as sales of prescription painkillers have exploded.

The issue of painkiller abuse has come into sharp focus in Iowa recently with the filing of criminal charges against several medical professionals.